Texas Unemployment, at 8.2%, is Hardly Exceptional…

…or wouldn’t be if populations remained static.

But populations are not static; people do indeed vote with their feet. They relocate to areas which they view as better for their future employment prospects and general well being.  The chief beneficiary of those pedestrian votes has been Texas.  A self stated non-fan of Governor Rick Perry does the math to un-spin the Democrats and the LSM (but I repeat myself) on Texas jobs.

Rick Perry And Texas Job Numbers

By Matthias Shapiro | Political Math Blog

Full disclosure: I don’t like Rick Perry for our next president. I have my reasons that aren’t worth going into here. However, when I was watching the GOP debate and pro-Perry people started bringing up Rick Perry’s job numbers as a cudgel against other candidates, I looked into the BLS data on Texas jobs. Having familiarized myself with the data, I started noticing claims on the Texas jobs data that started popping up that directly contradicted what I was seeing in the data. So I wanted to clear up a couple of these common misconceptions.

Note: If you are going to comment and you want to introduce some new objection to the Texas job numbers, you MUST provide original data. I spent about 4 hours digging through raw data to write this post. I don’t want you to point to some pundit or blog post and take it on their authority, because I’ve already researched several idiot pundits who are talking directly out of their asses when it comes to the data. I want you to point to the raw data that I can examine for myself. This means links. I refuse to waste any more of my time on speculative bullshit or “Well, I’ll wager that the Texas jobs don’t really count because…” If you’re willing to wager, take that money and put it towards finding the actual data. In short, put up or shut up.

I’m not cranky, I swear.

Anyway, let’s deal with the complaints in no particular order:

“Texas has an unemployment rate of 8.2%. That’s hardly exceptional.”

See… that’s what I thought when I started looking at the data. I knew that Utah had a lower unemployment rate than Texas and I kept hearing that Texas was go great at jobs, blah, blah, blah, so I looked up the unemployment rate.

Nothing special.

So I was going to drive my point home that Texas was nothing special by looking at their raw employment numbers and reporting on those. That’s when I saw this:

This may not look like anything special, but I’ve been looking closely at employment data for a couple years now and I’ve become very accustomed to seeing data that looks like this.

In a “normal” employment data set, we can easily look at it and say “Yep, that’s where the recession happened. Sucks to be us.” But not with Texas. With Texas, we say “Damn. Looks like they’ve recovered already.”

More like they went into recession late and shallowly, and recovered both faster and stronger than the rest of the country.

My Personal Favorite Chart

I’ll leave you with my personal favorite chart. I mentioned at the beginning that Texas is seeing high unemployment in a large part because they’re growing so damn fast. The problem with this from a charts and graphs perspective is that it leaves worse states off the hook, making them look better than they actually are. Looking at unemployment alone, we would conclude that Wisconsin has a better economy than Texas. But Wisconsin is still 120K short of it’s pre-recession numbers. The only reason they look better than Texas is because 32,000 people fled the state.

During that time, 739,000 people fled into Texas. Anyone who takes that data and pretends that this is somehow bad news for Texas is simply not being honest. At the worst, I’d call it a good problem to have.

So, to give something of a better feeling for the economic situation across states, this chart takes the population of the states I selected above and judges the current job situation against the population as it stood at the beginning of the recession.

Using that metric, Texas would have a very low unemployment rate of 2.3%. But the fact that unemployment in the United States is fluid means that the unemployed flock to a place where there are jobs, which inflates its unemployment rate (at least in the short term). It’s not a bad thing for Texas… it just looks bad at first glance.

And… that’s it.

And there you have it, the latest spin un-spun.

Sadly, I’m writing this from the state which finished worst in the comparison.

Hat Tip: Ace at Ace of Spades

Scum Things Never Change
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  • Anonymous

    It’s all Bush’s fault!  Er…ah…..  Well Texas “just got lucky!”  Um….mmmm…..  Texas doesn’t have a lot of other things to worry about!   I’m sure Barry can come up with even more reasons. 

  • All of the job growth in Texas was in the government. They lost 40,000 net jobs in the private sector and added 120,000 in the public sector.

    Most of that growth was done with ObamaBucks, stimulus money from the feds.

    You can thank Obama for the money, and thank Rick Perry for growing the size of Texas government, but those are the facts.

    • “Here are the numbers, which come from the federal government’s Bureau of
      Labor Statistics: Between the beginning of 2008 and the end of 2010
      (the latest data available), Texas created about 75,000 jobs. That makes
      it one of the few states with any job creation at all over that time.
      But federal, state and local government hiring accounted for 115,000 new
      jobs in Texas, while private industry shed about 40,000 jobs. The
      private sector has definitely held up much better in Texas than it has
      elsewhere. Since 2008, private-sector employment has shrunk by 6.6
      percent nationally, but only by 0.5 percent in Texas. Still, Perry can’t
      credibly claim that private industry has been responsible for job
      growth in Texas, since it has actually shed jobs”

      And where did the money come from for the jobs that were created? Federal stimulus money.

      • From the article which you obviously did not bother to read:

        But, just in case you’re really worried about it, you can lay your
        fears to rest because in the last year the Texas public sector has
        shrunk by 26,000 jobs. In the last 12 months, Texas lost 31,300 federal
        employees, trimmed 3,800 state jobs, and increased local government jobs
        by 8,400 jobs.
        (To be fair, this was partially driven by the role Texas employees
        played in the census, which inflated federal job numbers this time last
        year. Since the census numbers stabilized, federal employment has been
        at about break-even.)

        Short version: You FAIL.

        • I’ll take the Bureau of Labor Statistics over some guy in the internet any day. Notice that there is no source for the numbers you’ve quoted.

          Stimulus money creating government jobs. Nicely done, Mr. Perry. Now give Obama credit for handing you the cash you ungrateful slob.

          • “I looked into the BLS data on Texas jobs. Having familiarized myself with the data, I started noticing claims on the Texas jobs data that started popping up that directly contradicted what I was seeing in the data. So I wanted to clear up a couple of these common misconceptions.”

            Bob, you failed.

            Really, it’s pathetic.  Maybe you’ve been telling yourself that you don’t have to actually produce anything factual with your assertions – that the simple might of your righteous indignation was all the validation that you need.  That you could shout down anyone who disagreed – you didn’t even need to look at the data, because it was wrong.

            Only it isn’t.  Imagine that.  Maybe you need to go back and talk to the folks you got your talking points from, and ask why they’d lie to you.

          • Like I said, some guy on the internet who’s “looked at the numbers” and decided x equals y

            It’s ok cause his views are being promoted by someone who didn’t even bother to fact check – just quoted “some guy on the internet” like it was reality..


          • Oysteria

            Fine then.  YOU look at the numbers and SHOW us how it’s wrong.  Refute his assertions, categorically, with your own graphs and equations.  And before you go spouting off about someone else not have sources provide your own.  Go ahead.  We’ll wait.  Either that or STFU.

            So far you’ve proven absolutely nothing.  Nothing.  All you’ve done is taken what you read somewhere else and reposted it.  I notice you’re not over there at Matthias Shapiro’s blog “proving” him wrong.

            Furthermore, Mr. Shapiro is not a Perry supporter and he’s not attributing any of the job growth or economic growth to Perry.  You, on the other hand, are attacking Perry with simplistic notions, no sources and guess work.
            Texas has a unique mix of people and a way of doing politics that lays out an open path for such growth.  I’m not convinced Perry had a lot to do with it other than getting out of the way.  Which by the way, is something I would like to see a lot of other politicians do.

      • Anonymous

        Assuming for a minute that Bob is right, then what you are saying is that adding public sector jobs is bad? And using federal stimulus money is bad? That growing the Private sector would be good? And shirking/reducing Gov’t employment/costs is good?

        ’cause if that’s what you are REALLY advocating, then I’d officially like to invite you to the party. The TEA party.

    • This talking point too was addressed, and demolished, in the linked article.


  • And it turns out the rick Perry is an excellent can-kicker.

    “In fiscal 2011, for example, Texas increased spending by 15.4 percent,
    the biggest hike among all 50 states, according to the National
    Association of State Budget Officers. But in fiscal 2012, which begins
    in September, Texas will cut spending by 8.5 percent, which will be the
    second biggest cut of any state, after Nevada. As in other states, the
    biggest cuts in Texas are slated for education and health care. Texas is
    also pushing off several big problems until 2013, which means more
    spending cuts are probably on the way. That could help Perry burnish his
    small-government cred, but it will almost certainly entail job cuts too
    — and make the Texas Miracle look a lot less miraculous by this time
    next year”

    He jacks up state spending 15% and now has to cut back, and will be cutting jobs in the process.

    But that doesn’t happen till he’s gone and has a talk show on Fox News in 2013. Nick can kicking Mr Perry.

    So far Rick Perry is looking like a rock on surfboard. One wrong move and he’s sunk. I wonder if he’s going to suggest kicking the crap out of anyone else this week.

  • Goal Post Shifting: Loss of down.

  • retired.military

    “But that doesn’t happen till he’s gone and has a talk show on Fox News in 2013.”

    Damn the President of the US will have a talk show on Fox News.  Who would have thunk it.

  • And we’ve got another sock puppet in Bob – a one-post wonder, sock puppet burning brightly and most likely never to be seen again after tonight.

    Haven’t you folks realized yet that with Disqus we can see your entire commenting history?  Everyplace you post, or thumbs up another’s post, and we can see whether you’re consistent or not.  

    Or if you’re simply a created name, used and discarded like Obama does $100 bills after he uses them for toilet paper…

  • Wait, I thought Republicans were generous.

    Rick Perry sure  is.

    “Perry has received a total of $37 million over the last decade from just
    150 individuals and couples, who are likely to form the backbone of his
    new effort to win the Republican presidential nomination. The tally
    represented more than a third of the $102 million he had raised as
    governor through December, according to data compiled by the watchdog
    group Texans for Public Justice.”

    “Nearly half of those mega-donors received hefty business contracts, tax
    breaks or appointments under Perry, according to a Los Angeles Times

    Let me guess, you guys haven’t seen a penny’s worth of the favoritism Perry is throwing around to his friends?

  • And what about Perry’s chosen running mate? Everyone knows if Perry gets the nod he’s choosing Michele Bachmann – aka Clue less in a dress,


    A real strong team you got there. A clown who used federal stimulus money to grow the size of Texas government “creating jobs” that are government jobs, as the private sector in Texas lost jobs, and a nosepicker who even when somebody told her it wasn’t Elvis’s birthday the asshat ignored reality and just blundered on.

    Sounds like Bush Cheney to me. Let’s go Hunting!

    • Wow, a dirty hippy seminar poster of our very own!

      Have you put all your talking points and flames out there, or do you have more?

      • Anonymous

        Release Watongo!

  • It’s starting to look like they’re each being assigned one post to troll.

  • Actually, I think we’re seeing the first talking point tests.  Splatter these over the internet enough, and it doesn’t matter what the truth is – what matters is how it’s interpreted.

    Interesting to be watching the attempted birth of a political meme.  Shame the daddy’s so damn ugly, though.

  • Anonymous

    Looking at the raw un-fudged data one would have to conclude that Barry is the biggest humper in human history.

  • Anonymous

    Even if Texas unemployment is only 8.2%, that’s still better than what President Downgrade has accomplished.

    Funny though, to suddenly see Obama supporters concerned about high unemployment, increased spending and even better, supposed cronyism.

    Truth is, after the disaster we have in the WH, Obama supporters can’t level any criticism at anyone without looking like raging hypocrites. Course, that won’t stop them.

    • PBunyan

      Yeah, that’s what I’ve been thinking reading Bob’s spittle on this thread.  Even if everything Bob says is true (and that’s a big if), if you look at the exact same aspects of each point he made and consider that they all are true in the case of Obama’s presidency, but to a much greater extent, you can’t help but conclude that Perry would be way better then Obama.

      Unfortunately, that’s not saying much.  I don’t think Obama could have set the bar any lower, even if he was trying to to that.  In fact, given Obama record, if he was trying to fail, he’d probably be an incredable success.

  • Here’s more evidence of Perry’s hypocrisy. I mean, you guys DO want to know what you’re voting for, right?

    “Without that Washington spending, Rick Perry’s home county would probably go under. Haskell County, Texas,
    got more that $232 million in taxpayer-funded farm subsidies from the
    federal government from 1996-2010, including more than $80,000 to Rick Perry himself.
    At just under 6,000 residents, that comes to more than $40,000 per
    person. The number one recipient in Haskell County has pulled in more
    than $2.4 million in taxpayer dollars. Perry got $9,600 in conservation
    payments, which meant taxpayers were giving him money to do
    nothing—to let his land lie fallow.

    Texas is the number one
    recipient of taxpayer-funded farm subsidies in the country, with more
    than $24.4 billion in subsidies in that same period. But despite the
    billions of dollars spent, most Texas farmers don’t benefit from the
    federal largesse. 81 percent of Texas farmers don’t get subsidies, and of those that do, 78 percent of the money goes to the top 10 percent of recipients.

    Rick had his hand out for federal money not only for his state, but for his own personal pockers. But he stands before you now a changed man. Now that he’s got his and got it for all of his pals and financial supporters as well, he wants to take it away from the rest of us Americans.

    • Anonymous


      Quoting from Laura Chapin?
      The same Laura Chapin who is “a Democratic communications strategist based in Denver, Colorado, advocating for
      progressive causes and candidates in the Rocky Mountain West.”

      Ho ho. What’s next, a word from Michelle?

      As to: “..had his hand out for federal money not only for his state, but for his
      own personal pockers. But he stands before you now a changed man. Now
      that he’s got his and got it for all of his pals and financial
      supporters as well, he wants to take it away from the rest of us

      You realize this could word for word describe Debt man walking, Barak Obama?

      I cannot wait until Obama has to debate Perry.

      •  “If I can’t bring my teletubby prompter I’m NOT going!”  (Stamps his foot, goes over in the corner with his blankie, and starts to cry loudly, every so often looking over to see just how much attention he’s getting.)

    • jim_m

      Wow, Texas, the number two agricultural state in the nation receives a large amount of farm subsidies.  Who would have ever guessed?  And if you have a complaint as to how that money is distributed maybe you should blame the federal government, who hands out the subsidies, rather than the governor.  Also consider that the larger your farming operation is the more likely you are to receive a subsidy and the larger that subsidy is likely to be. 

      So your criticism doesn’t really amount to much of anything but leftist whining.  Had it been obama you would be crowing how he brought home so much federal money to aid his state.

  • Shifting the goalposts again!

    Bob is just overflowing FAIL.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed but to be fair, he doesn’t have much to work with.

  • Sock-puppet, Sock-puppet –
    Burning bright,
    loudly shouting with all your might,
    In the webs of the Internet
    Haven’t you figured it out quite yet?

    Your history does define you,
    Your picture? It outlines you,
    The thinking you show refines you,
    And validated by the likes received.

    Nothing defined, nothing to see?
    Your opinion matters naught, you see…
    Credibility isn’t easily raised,
    It takes time to climb up through the waves.

    A one-post wonder? It is to laugh
    That you’d think anyone would ever half
    Accept that you know what you’re talking of.
    It takes time to show you’ve a brain.

    Because in the end, my sock-puppet friend,
    Reality doesn’t care about spin.
    A ball of yarn is all you’ll be,
    Because you’ve been thoroughly spun.

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