The Texas Miracle, Yet Again

We keep hearing about the Texas Miracle.  It’s been mythic since “openly gay” Governor Rick Perry declared that Texas was in great shape, in no need of stimulus monies at all—after receiving enough to turn his state’s fourteen-figure budget deficit into a surplus. (UPDATE: Links added. And that final link was rather prophetic.)

So when the WSJ’s Economics Blog listed the Personal Income gains for major metropolitan areas (and some that wish they were), it came as no surprise that the great state of Texas has four areas on the list that show no decrease in Personal Income over each of the past two years.  After all, there are only 85 areas of the 367 listed by the WSJ that show non-declines in Personal Income both from 2007 to 2008 and from 2008 to 2009.

Such an accomplishment certainly could not be matched by states with Severe Crises, such as Illinois or California, could it?

ca and il

Oops.  Four for each state.  Well, at least all of those started (and ended) well below the National Average.  Surely, Texas, with Austin and Dallas and Houston will show greater growth.


Oh, well.  In fact, looking at the Bottom 10—the lowest total Personal Income areas that show no loss in each of the past two years, we find:


The bottom two and three of the bottom seven are in Texas.  So the only one of the four that actually grew from a decent start is the one that has had a major influx in the form of the growth of Fort Hood.  Let’s hear it for Private Enterprise!

But still four areas that didn’t decline (well, much; McAllen drops $1, but that’s rounding error) over the two years.  Only a few states can match that.  In addition to California and Illinois, they are:

  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Missouri, and
  • Illinois

Meanwhile, two states have more than four metropolitan areas of growth.  I fully expect to hear about the “miracle” of five areas of West Virginia:


but fear there will be little about that bastion of Northeastern Liberalism, Pennsylvania and its seven areas with two straight years of Personal Income growth—including the Pittsburgh area, which is notably above the national average after trailing it in 2007.