Rick Perry on Jobs
Republican Governor (TX)
Back in 2012, such conspiracy theories became known as unemployment or "BLS trutherism," in reference to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the division of the Labor Department that's responsible for producing the unemployment rate. After some surprisingly upbeat jobs reports that bolstered the campaign of President Barack Obama, skeptical conservatives either implied or said outright that the numbers couldn't be trusted.
As explained at the time, the BLS is devised in such a way that the White House cannot meddle in its math, be it a Democratic or Republican administration. [But BLS truthers compare the official jobless rate of] 5.6% to alternate BLS measures that include discouraged and involuntary part-time workers.
A: Are the politics shifting in your party on that?
PERRY: Well, we focus on the maximum wage rather than the minimum wage. 95% of all the jobs that are created in my home state were above the minimum wage. So the idea that you should be focused on the minimum wage when in fact you ought to be focused on policies that create this environment where jobs can be created. You know, this discussion about minimum wage, when there are no jobs available. Most of us didn't start in the corner office, I mean, you worked your way up. I think it's an easy political line to pitch out to say, "I'm for raising the minimum wage," when we're looking past that in Texas from the standpoint of how do we create the maximum wage available? How do we put more people into the workforce? And that's where the focus should be.
PERRY: Actually, it is a federal issue, and it's a federal issue because of the law that was passed that forces the states to make a decision about whether or not they're going to be right to work. So Jim DeMint's legislation, I would support that of repealing that legislation that forces states to make that decision to be a right to work rather than all of this country being right to work. Listen, I'm not anti-union, I'm pro-job. The Obama administration's attack on job creation is by taxes and regulation--[we should] pull those regulations since 2008, and test them all for do they create jobs or do they kill jobs. And if they kill jobs, you throw them out. I'm a right to work guy. I come from a right to work state, and I will tell you, if N.H. wants to become the magnet for job creation in the Northeast, you pass that right to work legislation.
PERRY: What we need to be focused on in this country today is not whether or not we're going to have this policy or that policy. What we need to be focused on is how we get America working again. That's where we need to be focused. I can promise you that we do that and we'll create an environment in this country where the manufacturing will come back to this country. We did it in Texas. We brought CHI Manufacturing, that had business in China, back to the state of Texas. You free up this country's entrepreneurs where they know that they can risk their capital and have a chance to have a return on investment and all of this conversation that we're having [on a trade war with China] becomes substantially less impactful.
PERRY: Well, you will see a more extensive jobs plan. But the fact of the matter is, you look at the state of Texas and see what we've done there. People understand that the state of Texas, during the last decade, something special happened there. It was the number one state for relocation for five years in a row. And we plan on keeping it that way.
A: Americans want a leader who's got a proven record of job creation. 1) we get rid of Obamacare. 2) we pull back all of those regulations that are job-killing today, whether it's Dodd-Frank or whether it's the EPA. And then 3) we sit with Congress and we lower those corporate tax rates, we lower those personal tax rates, and then we put our plan to make America energy independent, and that is the way you get America working again
A: Actually, what Americans are looking for is someone who can get this country working again. And we put the model in place in the state of Texas. When you look at what we have done over the last decade, we created 1 million jobs in the state of Texas. At the same time, America lost 2.5 million.
Q: But the counterargument is the number of low-wage jobs and that unemployment is better in over half the states than it is right now in Texas.
A: Well, the first part of that comment is incorrect, becaus 95% of all the jobs that we've created have been above minimum wage. So I'm proud of what we've done in the state of Texas. And for the White House or anyone else to be criticizing creation of jobs now in America, I think is a little bit hypocritical.
Perry said, "95% of all the jobs that we've created have been above minimum wage." To support the claim, the Perry campaign provided federal statistics for Dec. 2010 showing only 5.3% of all jobs in Texas pay the minimum wage. But those figures represent all workers, not just the new jobs, for which data are unavailable. And that does not account for low-wage jobs that may be barely above the minimum wage. 51% of all Texas workers make less than $33,000 a year. Only 30% make more than $50,000 a year. Nationally, Texas ranked 34th in median household income from 2007 to 2009. About 9.5% of Texas hourly workers, excluding those who are paid salaries, earn the minimum wage or less, tying Mississippi for the highest percentage in the nation.
PERRY: Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.
ROMNEY: Well, as a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, governor.
PERRY: That's not correct.
ROMNEY: Yes, that is correct.
THE FACTS: Romney was correct. Romney accurately stated that George W. Bush--even without his predecessor--saw jobs grow at a faster rate during his 1994-2000 years as governor than Perry has during his 11 years governing Texas. Employment grew by about 1.32 million during Bush's six years in office. Employment during Perry's years has grown about 1.2 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
We recognize that job-gain boasts can overreach. An example: Perry's 2009 claim that about 70% of the jobs created in the US from November 2007-08 were in Texas. That was based on statistics from the 14 states in which job gains outnumbered job losses, and disregarded any jobs created in the other 36 states.
Perry got his new figures from the Dallas Federal Reserve, who subtracted the number of Texas jobs in June 2009 (10,287,000) from the jobs as of April 2011 (10,524,000) and determining the 237,000 increase accounted for 48% of the 496,000 jobs gained nationally over that period.
However, the Texas economy has been roaring since 1990, long before Perry became governor, including phenomenal job growth.
The strength of the Texas economy, compared to many other states, isn't in dispute. However, there are many ways to slice and dice employment statistics. Mark Perry's statement Half True.
Source: 2009 State of the State Address , Jan 27, 2009
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