Stephen Moore Looks at Mississippi

cactus sends a note from the WSJ commentaries:

Stephen Moore Looks at Mississippi

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Mississippi in January of 2004, the month Haley Barbour became governor of the state, was 5.7%. A year later, it was 6.9%. The latest figures (March 2003) showed a seasonally adjusted figure of 6.0%. Now consider the following sentence:

Thanks to Mr. Barbour, the state’s unemployment rate is down to about 6% from nearly 9%.

Given the facts, would you be embarrassed to write that sentence? I imagine most people would. Let’s look at at a few more facts. This BEA
news release
provides a list of the states with the fastest and slowest per capita income growth rates from 2006 to 2007. The top three are:1. Louisiana, growth rate = 9.2%2. New York, growth rate = 7.6%3. Mississippi, growth rate = 6.7%Most people would look at this and and suspect that a certain August 2005 event might have something to do with the growth rate in Louisiana and Mississippi. Rebuilding after a devastating hurricane will lead to rapid growth in per capita income. Thus, most people would not think to write this:

Last year, Mississippi’s per capita income growth was 6.7%, third highest of the 50 states and well above the national average of 5.2%. Mississippi tort reform is making the poor richer, and the rich lawyers less fabulously rich.

Most people would have avoided writing this article. Kudos to Stephen Moore, senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal editorial page, who most definitely is not most people.

This one by cactus