Texas' job miracle

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rick perryRick Perry may be on to something. In a June ad campaign that ran in New York, California, and Illinois, the Texas governor makes the case for businesses to check out Texas as a landing spot to escape the high taxes, regulations, and generally inflated cost of doing business of these blue states.

"Why have more jobs and businesses moved to Texas than any other state? Our state is No. 1 for business because we have no state income tax," Perry said in the ad. Meanwhile, Texas "has added more jobs than any state in the nation over the last five years."

That's actually true. Since June 2008, Texas has added 889,685 jobs, including 303,000 in the past year alone, more than any other single state, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Its unemployment rate peaked at 8.3 percent in February 2010, and has since dropped back down to 6.5 percent. Texas is rebounding.

Compare that to, say, New York, which peaked at 8.9 percent in September 2009, but has only dropped to 7.5 percent. Since June 2008, New York has not added any to the ranks of the employed — instead it has lost 266,707 jobs.

The only reason the unemployment rate there has dropped since it peaked is because the civilian labor force — those working or seeking work — shrank by 35,738 even as the working age population increased by 397,721. The labor force participation rate there has dropped from 63 percent to 61.2 percent.

Comparatively, labor force participation has held much steadier in Texas, only dropping from 65.6 percent to 65.2 percent.

Elsewhere, in California, despite having a much higher population than Texas, the once-Golden State has only added 119,659 jobs in the past five years. Illinois has shed 301,488 jobs since June 2008.

So, there is no question that, in comparison to other populous states such as New York, California, and Illinois, Texas has fared much better in creating jobs and pulling out of the recession that rocked the economy beginning in 2008.

Despite those facts being on Perry's side, comedian Lewis Black responded with a mock ad campaign of his own: "Listen, Texas, trying to steal jobs from Illinois and California is one thing, but you're going to try to trash-talk about New York? Not on my watch."

Black, admittedly in a line intended for humor, concluded, "'Don't mess with Texas?' No, 'Don't f**k with New York.'"

Yet, if anything is messing up New York — it is the policies there, the high taxes, and the greater cost of doing business there that is costing hundreds of thousands of jobs. Perry need not run ads there, or in high-cost Illinois and California. The exodus was already taking place.

To be fair, Black was not taking issue with Perry’s factual presentation of Texas’ job miracle. It was a satire. That said, his ire might be better left to the politicians in New York whose policies have made that state a far less attractive place to do business. Texas has had no role in New York’s destruction.

In short, Perry or no Perry, ad campaign or no ad campaign, Texas and other low-cost states will continue to reap the benefit of New York and others’ big government excesses. The truth is, these blue states have no one to blame but themselves for the mess they are in.