Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has been basing his nascent presidential campaign on his anti-government views and Texas’ supposed job creation miracle. As we noted today, when labor force growth is taken into account, Texas actually has the worst job creation record in the nation (though it does lead the country in minimum wage jobs). But there is one sector that has been booming under Perry: the public sector.
As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Jared Bernstein, formerly Vice President Biden’s chief economist, pointed out, “over the last few years, government jobs have been awfully consequential in Texas”:
47% of all government jobs added in the US between 2007 and 2010 were added in Texas. The chart shows that Texas employment wasn’t down much at all in these years, as the state lost only 53,000 jobs. But looming behind that number are large losses in the private sector (down 178,000) and large gains (up 125,000) in government jobs.
As Bernstein put it, Texas has been “following a traditional Keynesian game plan: as the private sector contracts, turn to the public sector to temporarily make up part of the difference.” As we’ve noted before, an expanding public sector is nothing new in Texas, as “employment in the state’s public sector has jumped 19 percent since 2000, compared with a 9 percent rise in the private sector.”
This is all the more remarkable, considering that Perry doesn’t believe government jobs (including his own) exist at all. Of course, these stats may not hold for long, because Texas is going to have to lay off tens of thousands of workers under the draconian budget that it put in place for the upcoming budget cycle.