Recent reports have Rick Perry mulling a late-August entry into the presidential race, a move that other aspirants have to dread. If he’s like most Texans these days, Perry will find the job before anyone else. USA Today reports on the state’s job-creation record that shows that Texas created half of all new jobs in the last two years:
Finding work may not be quite that simple, but it sure seems that way. While the nation’s job growth has limped along since the economic recovery began two years ago, the Lone Star State is enlarging payrolls in Texas-size fashion.
From June 2009 to June 2011 the state added 262,000 jobs, or half the USA’s 524,000 payroll gains, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even by a more conservative estimate that omits states with net job losses, Texas’ advances make up 30% of the 1 million additions in the 34 states with net growth.
Reporter Phil Davidson attempts to put the difference in a population-growth context and notes that the job growth has been remarkable even when taking that into consideration:
Texas’ big gains are partly a reflection of its population growth. But the recent job gains are outpacing the rate of population growth in Texas, the nation’s second-largest state, with 25 million residents — about 8% of the U.S. population.
The state’s payrolls have risen 2.9% since the end of the recession, third behind North Dakota and Alaska and far outpacing the USA’s 0.4% growth, according to the BLS. Also, Texas’ 8.2% unemployment rate is well below the nation’s 9.2%.
Let’s also consider why the population has grown so fast in Texas. Two months ago, BizJournals reported that Texas ranked first in net job creation over the decade from 2001-10, adding 732,000 jobs. Second place went to Arizona … with 92,000. Texas grew so fast that they added four new House seats in the last census allocation.
Jobs didn’t grow because people came to Texas. People came to Texas because jobs got created there. And jobs got created there, especially over the last two years, because the state government got out of the way of job creation and business expansion. In fact, the results have been so dramatic that other states have sent delegations to Texas to see how they can duplicate the success.
Davidson writes that these “stunning” results could “play a role” in the presidential race, and that’s certainly true if Perry gets into the primaries and manages to snag the nomination. Barack Obama will try to argue about the jobs he “saved or created,” which Perry will rebut by noting that Perry’s Texas created half of the net job expansion over the last two years, and didn’t do it through expansion of government regulation and deficit spending. If employment doesn’t markedly improve over the next few months, that argument could send one Texan out of the state to take a new job, and an Illini back home to find another. Unfortunately for Obama, his home state didn’t do nearly as well over the last two years.