CEPR - Center for Economic and Policy Research


En Español

Em Português

Other Languages

Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Did Rick Perry Sink the Texas Economy? (Corrected Version)

Did Rick Perry Sink the Texas Economy? (Corrected Version)

Saturday, 13 August 2011 13:59

Sorry, folks I made a very bad mistake on this one. (Lesson: always double-check your commands in an Excel spreadsheet.) It turns out that Texas maintained and actually increased the gap between its rate of job growth and the rest of the country during the Perry years.

Over the years from 1987 to 2001, annual job growth in Texas averaged 2.8 percent. This is 0.8 percentage points higher than the growth rate for the economy as a whole. In the ten years since Governor Perry took office job growth has averaged just over 1.0 percent annually, during a period in which employment in the country as a whole actually shrank slightly. This makes the gap in the Perry years just under 1.1 percent. This means that, at least by the measure of job growth, Perry does have something to show in Texas.

(If you're looking for me, I'm the guy wearing a paper bag over his head. Thanks to Sam123 for prompting me to recheck my numbers.)



Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics and author's calculations.

Comments (16)Add Comment
don't forget!
written by hapa, August 13, 2011 3:48
texas also benefits from legal & illegal trade flowing through their economy. so if elected -- along with out-hoovering hoover like possibly EVERY SINGLE CANDIDATE for president -- president perry would not only make oil appear in every state, he would rearrange america so that every state shared a border with mexico.
No, it's just the general decline since 2001
written by Les Cargill, August 13, 2011 3:53
Texas' growth declined after Enron. That broke the spell. Since 2001, it's simply been no better than the rest of the US. Prior to 2001, Texas had had a very long stretch of unemployment below replacement. This reached back to the post-1973 Oil Boom.

It was exempt from real estate speculation because property taxes tend to be higher ( they're used for what sales and income taxes are used for in, say, New Jersey ). So there wasn't as much of a mortgage crisis.

It may be crawling out of the hole, or it may not be. Too early to tell. The tale-spinners will be able to trot out the trope of pre-2001 job growth because narrative warps time, but it's not very true.
Perry Prayer for Parity and Poison, Low-rated comment [Show]
written by bmz, August 13, 2011 5:28
The discovery and exploitation of Barnett shale gas fields have created most of the "Texas Miracle," not Perry.
written by skeptonomist, August 13, 2011 5:48
How Texas fares relative to the rest of the country is mostly determined by oil price, not anything that Rick Perry or any governor does:


Oil cost is total U.S. oil consumption times real oil price, divided by GDP. Total Texas oil income would probably show this better.

If oil price continues to go up, Texas unemployment will probably go down and Perry or his successor will take credit.
written by skeptonomist, August 13, 2011 6:17
The reason job growth in Texas was so good averaged 1987-2001 is because Texas was in a terrible recession in 1987, due to the decline and crash of oil price, combined with the excesses of the Texas banking and S&L industries, which went crazy after deregulation.
written by skeptonomist, August 13, 2011 6:27
The reason job growth in Texas was so good on average 1987-2001 is because Texas was in a terrible recession in 1987, due to the decline and crash of oil price, combined with the excesses of the Texas banking and S&L industries, which had gone crazy after deregulation. Many of banks and S&L's were rescued by the S&L and banking insurance agencies, and the S&L agency was bailed out by the U.S. In other words, Texas's recovery after 1987 was funded by taxpayers in the rest of the U.S.
Perry the Destroyer
written by jhand, August 13, 2011 7:03
Please don't forget to look at the devastating effect Perry and his friends in the legislature have had on Texas public schools. The financial shortfalls are in the billions, the teacher/ed staff layoffs are in the thousands, and the number of students increase by about 150,000 per year. Right now, we would be happy to have education funding at 2006 levels. When public schools lose, who wins? Charter schools, publicly funded on a for-profit basis. Perry's education appointments have been so bad that even the Republican-majority Texas Senate refused his nomination for chair of the State Board of Education Certification a couple of years ago. When then-Comptroller Carol Strayhorn predicted that the new tax structure would lead to billions of dollars in shortfalls, Perry accused her of playing politics. Since her 2006 letter, her financial shortfall predictions have been eerily accurate. Perry is dangerous because he has huge financial support and gives a good speech. (He has trouble with debates and follow-up questions.) He hides behind his Christian faith. As I recall, Cromwell, Torquemada, Stephen Keating, and the Crusaders were Christians, too
written by Ron Alley, August 13, 2011 10:31
Perry is the candidate selected by the GOP establishment to run around the GOP Tea Party. He did not participate in the Iowa debate and straw poll in order to give the Grand Old Tea Party candidates the opportunity to debase themselves.

You will find that is well funded just as Dubya was in 2000 and that his funds will come from substantially the same sources as Dubya. He will avoid conflict with the other candidates until he has the opportunity to create momentum by winning primaries. In the end, Perry will be substantially unopposed for the GOP nomination.
written by Sam123, August 14, 2011 12:40
Actually, the source this article cites says that the number of jobs in Texas grew from 10 million to 11.3 million from 2001 to 2011. That is an average of 130,000 jobs a year, which based on a midpoint of 10.65 million jobs, gives you an annual job growth rate of 1.22%. Meanwhile over the same period of time US employment decreased from 132.5 million, to 131.2 million. The Ironic thing is that the state of Texas added the exact amount of jobs that the US lost. So without Texas, the US would have lost twice the number of jobs over the same period. The source of this information is the BLS website the author referenced. Plenty of things to criticize about Perry without falsifying evidence.

written by Jim In Panama, August 14, 2011 10:15
And if he becomes President he can bring his job creating Midas touch to the rest of the country. I'm already getting ready ... "would you like fries with that?" .... "would you like fries with that?" ...."would you like fries with that?" ...
written by ltr, August 14, 2011 1:42
Thank you for the correction. I thought there was a problem and should have checked myself.
written by wallyfurthermore, August 14, 2011 2:13
It doesn't matter to me... there's simply no way in hell that another 'conservative' from Texas flying quasi-religious colors is ever going to get into the White House. We've had enough damage from the last one to last for at least a couple of generations.
written by Sam123, August 14, 2011 2:43
Thank you for correcting yourself so quickly, I'm impressed. Should have given you a chance before accusing you of falsifying evidence.
written by HB, August 14, 2011 4:45
have little to do with the Governor. And he has little to do with them.
All Hat, No Cattle
written by John Cooper, August 14, 2011 6:05
As a 40-year resident of Austin, I'm reminded of the phrase Rick Perry himself has used about a posturing "cowboy." Perry likes to claim a "Texas Miracle," but the fact is that Texas has benefited by geography (not on either coast), a large industrial base, and a large energy economy. Like the famous Ann Richards quote about George H.W. Bush, Sr., "he was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple!" Politically, Rick Perry got his job handed to him when George W. Bush left the governorship to be president, and since he has held on (one has to admire his skills as a politician, if not as a governor). In fact, his low tax policies have led to large deficits that he patched first with federal stimulus funding in 2009 (while biting the hand that fed him), and then with budget-delay tricks in 2011. Texas is at the bottom of most state list in terms of education and health care access, two key measures of a healthy society, and many of the jobs (37%) are at or below minimum wage. We are becoming Mexico, but those who own things in Texas love Rick Perry, because he keeps wages low, taxes low, and shoots the finger at Washington. He's scary, because he's a good politician, but a horrible governor.

Write comment

(Only one link allowed per comment)

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comments.


Support this blog, donate
Combined Federal Campaign #79613

About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.