Jobs as the Measure of Economic Success, and Rick Perry’s Texas
by Linda Beale
Jobs as the Measure of Economic Success, and Rick Perry’s Texas
We have had a warped sense of how to measure economic success in this country at least since George W. Bush started talking about the “ownership” society. Of course, we should have guessed that moniker was problematic from the start, since it was ‘invented’ by a guy who bragged about representing the ‘have-mores’ while the economy was rapidly becoming a bi-polar, class-based society of have-mores and have-nots.
Most of the media looks at the gyrations of the Dow Jones Industrial, the S&P 500 and similar indexes of stock pricess and then says our economy is good (if they’re up) or bad (if they’re down).
Folks, that’s only true for those who own most of the financial assets–the rich folks at the top of the scale. It’s not true for the companies. As Ali Velshi noted in the Daily Show clip on the earlier blog post, companies intrinsic values don’t change by dropping 5% overnight, gaining 3% overnight and then dropping 4% overnight. The companies are still plodding along doing what they’re doing. What changes is the attitudes of those secondary investors–more and more of them just quick traders out to arbitrage a temporary price difference who don’t give a damn about the company’s fundamentals.
Now, if you happen to own a few shares of a company that tanks, you clearly care about that stock price plunge. And if your retirement account is large and heavily invested in stocks, then you care as well. But fact is, the way we really should measure the economy is by how much and what kind of work it offers to ordinary Americans. What’s the jobs count? And what do those jobs pay?
And those numbers are important only relative to other numbers. You don’t know whether you have a mice or an elephant in terms of job creation unless you know how much your population has grown alongside the growth of those jobs. This is why the same record on job creation can be made to look good to the naive hearer (“more than 5 million jobs in 8 years”) or terrible (“only 3 jobs per 1000 new citizens in 8 years”), depending on whether the hearer gets information on the number of new job seekers as well as the number of new jobs available for those seekers.
So Rick Perry brags about his Texas record. I’ve already posted on the many problems in Texas, some of which Perry is responsible for and most of which he is responsible for not addressing.
What about jobs? Yes, there is still an oil and gas ‘one-note’ economy that creates directly and indirectly new jobs as the oil and gas industry grows (for now). Many of those jobs are minimum wage and lots of them are not very secure. But our question is what about the new jobs to new job seekers ratio–are jobs growing, so that unemployment is going down? or are jobs growing but not at the same rate that the population is growing? The fact that the unemployment rate has increased to just below the national average at 8.2% suggests that jobs aren’t growing as fast as the population and maybe that jobs are even shrinking.
Here’s someone else’s take on this question. The staff at ThinkProgress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund produced a report that delved a little deeper into the Texas jobs numbers and concluded: Texas Ranks Dead Last in Total Job Creation, [when] Accounting for Labor Force Growth, Aug. 17, 2011.
Here are a few facts from the report:
1) Between 2008 and 2010, jobs actually grew at a faster pace in Massachusetts than in Texas.
2) “Texas has done worse than the rest of the country since the peak of national unemployment in October 2009.”
3) The unemployment rate in Texas has been steadily increasing throughout the recession.
4) While over 126,000 net jobs were created in Texas over the last two and a half years, the labor force expanded by over 437,000, meaning that overall Texas has added unemployed workers at a rate much faster than it has created jobs.
5) if there is a real “miracle” here, it is North Dakota, which has seen over 27,000 new jobs and a labor force expansion of only 3,700, resulting in about 24,000 new jobs for workers who previously had none.
The resulting picture comparing Texas to other states in terms of job creation considering labor force increase or decline is the following (note that Michigan’s ‘top’ rating is due to some job creation but primarily to loss of labor force as people without jobs leave the state; neither Michigan nor Texas has the ‘right stuff’)
Also posted at Ataxingmatter
The base of your arguement here is that Rick Perry has no right to push his record in Texas, because job creation appears weak because of Texas’ population explosion.
That is a very weak arguement!
You failed to point out that of all jobs created since the recession ended, 40% of them were created in Texas alone. You also failed to provide any data to back up the claim that the jobs crated in Texas are, “minimum wage and lots of them are not very secure.”
The main problem with the post though is the back story. Why has Texas had a population explosion? I find it hard to believe that people move to a state that has little opportunity, especially when the economic situation across the rest of the country is bleak. Couple that with the border issue, and you definitely have an uphill battle convincing anyone informed on the issue that this analysis shuts down Perry’s ability to use his record in Texas as a positive.
more: Krugman takes on Low Wages in Texas
Try looking at the services offered by Texas vs nearly all other states outside of the southeast quadrant. Your kid gets one of the worst educations unless you’re one of the wealthier Texans who can afford to send his kids to private school, or off limits to the poor public schools. Life in Texas sucks for nearly all Texans other than the lucky minority that actually earns a decent living. The stats were posted in comments on an earlier thread.
Even the low wage jobs that moved to Texas were not created, but were stolen from other states not giving away as much as Texas is willing to give up for those low wage jobs. And of course there is the wealth of oil with the price of oil sky high. Rick had nothing to do with that benefit.
Linda & Jack,
You hatred of Texas is starting to show. Darren is correct.
Only 25% of the jobs created under Perry were in the energy sector and a large chunk of those were in the green energy part – windmills. Did you know that Texas leads the nation in green energy?
The tech triangle of Austi/San Antonio – DFW- Houston is add high pay jobs. Not just you min wage jobs. People are moving from high tax and high government control states like California in the droves and setting up businesses here. With low overhead, low regulations and cheap land it very easy for you to succeed here.
As for the schools, Jack you just full of s**t. We have world class school with the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Rice, Baylor, TCU etc etc. I send my kids to the best public school in the DFW metroplex for academics (we suck at sports except for baseball and girls vollyball). Its probably #2 or #3 in the metroplex overall behind the two big private schools in Dallas. But the minority-majority school had more National Merit Scholorasip recipients than the rest of the Ft Worth ISD combined, and higher than ANY school within 100 miles. And you can buy a house in the school distric for under $100K. So anyone who wants can get there kids into a great school – for free.
You can argue Perry’s contribution to all this, you can say he just let the successful policies of his predessessor bare fruit (Ooops that would be the EVIL GW Bush). But you can’t argue that Texas hasn’t been a great success story for this past decade that any state wish they could emulate. Texas is picking up 4 Reps in Congress becuase people are migrating here to greener pastures. And if you look, those people are leaving anti-business union friendly states (rust belt) to come to Texas. Sounds like people voting with their feet to me.
And cherry picking statistics is getting a little pathetic.
Islam will change
buff-Why even waste your time? This post and some of the resulting comments are so ignorant of life in Texas that they resemble a “story” in The Onion. Did you read Linda’s last post about Texas? The ignorance, anger and vitrol is scary.
But I do love the Think Progress study about employment in Texas. I hadn’t heard that one yet. It reminds me of my favorite economics joke: A teacher, a CPA and an econosmist are asked, “What does 2+2 equal?” The teacher says, “Four”. The CPA says, “It’s either 3 or 5, let me get back with you.” The economist says, “What do you want it to equal?”
buff & little john,
The ignorance, anger and vitrol is scary.
You don’t realize how hard it is to admit that Texas is successful, as it represents, whether justified or not, the antithesis of Liberalism. Not only low taxes/low regulation vs. high taxes/high regulation, and non-union vs. union, but also self reliance vs. dependency, freedom vs. government direction, and swagger/masculity vs. effeteness. So Texas’ success is very threatening to them, on many levels.
Yes, Linda’s posts on Texas very much resemble an article right out of the Onion or New York Times. It’s a combination of envy and they are terrified by Texas’s success. Compare the big union states with Texas – that’s a joke. Fort Worth, the city, grew more in the last decade than Ohio and Michigan combined. The rust belt continues to rust. Compare Texas with California – very easy here on the ground, plenty of Californian refugees here. And we dont’ get the Le Reza crap here either.
It is a little scary. If Obama loses I bet they go nuts again.
Islam will change
You hit it right on the head.
I would add showing we don’t need the ‘intellectuals’ to tell us how to live. We don’t need them unless thay have a STEM degree scares them even more…but the left is all about control…
Islam will change
Having lived in Texas for 12 years (moved to the NE in 2006), I can certainly assure you it wasn’t “Yosemetie” Perry who should be given credit for the way Texas managed to survive better than other states during the latter half of the previous decade.
I’d suggest some folks are on the right trail when they digging into the oil/gas industries during that time but also look to the overall foundations of the state itself. It wasn’t until 2003 that Texans could even take out HELoC’s on their mortgaged homes! Something about not wanting those “big, bad banks” being able to take away what them-there cowboys had rightfully “owned” (that’s my simplistic view of the whole property-owners vs. banks situation – it’s either that or hypothesizing how much drinking and gambling went on in the ‘old west’ that may have caused many a’number of cowpokes to lose their homes in a fit of pique while sitting on a barstool).
I might be willing to attribute to YP something for applying the federal stimulus funds properly with all the road construction happening in and around Dallas/Fort Worth but that would require him to accede the fact he even took some of O’bamer’s money.
Anyway – I’m not going to say absence of facts implies no proof to a theory (the theory being that “Yosemite” Perry has the right ideas about how to run the country) but I can’t imagine the entire country operated how Texas was over the past 11-12 years being a good thing in long run.
To each their own, but I, frankly, don’t like the idea of Perry being president…