Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), who has been toying with running for the Republican presidential nomination, likes to brag about Texas’ job growth. But he’s made clear that he doesn’t consider public sector jobs (including his own) to be real jobs. “Government doesn’t create any jobs. They can actually run jobs away,” he told Glenn Beck.
However, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out today, public sector jobs (largely in education) have grown at a much higher rate under Perry’s watch than private sector jobs:
The Lone Star State gained more than a million jobs since the end of 2000, while the U.S. has lost almost 1.5 million, according data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
About 300,000 of the new Texas jobs were in government. Well over half of them, fueled by the surging population, were at public schools. Employment in the state’s public sector has jumped 19% since 2000, compared with a 9% rise in the private sector.
For the most part, Perry’s claims about the booming Texas economy are very much oversold, and its job growth over the past decade is in large part a function of population growth and the availability of housing. As the Austin American-Statesman noted, “While the national unemployment rate is 9.1 percent and the Texas unemployment rate is 8 percent, some 23 states, including New York, have lower unemployment rates.” Between 2008 and 2010, jobs actually grew at a faster pace in Massachusetts than in Texas, and “Texas has done worse than the rest of the country since the peak of national unemployment in October 2009.”
Perry’s state does, however, lead the nation in the highest percentage of minimum wage jobs. And later this year, hundreds of public employees in Texas will be laid off due to the massive spending cuts the Texas legislature authorized to deal with the Lone Star state’s $27 billion budget deficit. But since, according to Perry, those jobs never existed in the first place, will the layoffs actually count as jobs lost?