At Tuesday night’s debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire Texas Governor Rick Perry credited his leadership for the creation of jobs in Texas as the rest of the country was shedding many more.
The statement: “While this country was losing 2-1/2 million jobs, Texas was creating 1 million jobs. That’s the kind of leadership that America’s longing for, someone that actually understands that you have to be able to give a climate where people know they can risk their capital and have a chance to have a return on that investment.” – Texas Governor Rick Perry
The facts: From January 2009, when the Obama administration began, until September 2011, the United States has indeed lost 2.5 million jobs and seen its unemployment rate rise from 7.8% to 9.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
During that same time period, the number of people employed in Texas rose not by 1 million, but by 166,000, according to the same source. But a concomitant increase in population meant Texas too saw an increase in its unemployment rate, from 6.4% to 8.5%.
Perry’s reference to the addition of 1 million new jobs is true if you track stats back to December 2000, when he took office. The creation of 1 million jobs in Texas occurred over a decade, while the loss of 2.5 million jobs nationwide occurred during less than three years.
Many of the new jobs in Texas were low-wage. Some 550,000 hourly paid workers in Texas earned at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in 2010, according to BLS. That’s 9.5% of all hourly workers in Texas, a percentage that ties with Mississippi for the nation’s highest. The number of workers at or below the minimum wage rose from less than 200,000 in 2006 to about 550,000 in 2010, BLS says.
The median hourly wage for all workers in Texas was $11.20 last year, below the national median of $12.50. Texas ranks 6th in terms of people living in poverty, according to Census Bureau data, which show some 18.4% of Texans were impoverished in 2010, up from 17.3% a year earlier. The national average is 15.1%.
CNN’s Tom Watkins and Chris Lett contributed to this report.