Texas and the Gov’t: Better Friends Than You’d Think

August 16th, 2011 at 10:46 pm

At least better than you’d think listening to Gov Perry’s anti-government rhetoric.  When he announced his candidacy for President the other day, he growled that his goal as president would be to make Washington “as inconsequential in your lives as I can.”

Except when it comes to job creation.   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.

Source: BLS

Now, this was a period when the nation lost close to eight million jobs, so this churning in Texas is a very small drop in that bucket.  But it sure doesn’t match the Governor’s anti-government rhetoric.

In fact, as the table below shows, the nation as a whole added 264,000 government jobs, 2007-10, meaning public-sector jobs added in Texas account for almost half of the nation’s public-sector jobs over these years.

How did that happen?  Well, Gov Perry has a funny way of going about that “inconsequential” thing.  According to many news accounts from back in the Recovery Act days:

“Turns out Texas was the state that depended the most on those very stimulus funds to plug nearly 97% of its shortfall for fiscal 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.”

Now, I’ve got no problem with a state government using Recovery Act funds to retain or create jobs.  In fact, the figure and quote above shows Texas to be following a traditional Keynesian game plan: as the private sector contracts, turn to the public sector to temporarily make up part of the difference.

So, no disrespect Gov, but when you’re getting your Keynes on like that, no need to hide it behind all that anti-gov’t rhetoric.

 

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30 comments in reply to "Texas and the Gov’t: Better Friends Than You’d Think"

  1. Christopher says:

    I often find myself applauding your tact and kindness.

    So I’ll say it… Just more hypocrisy and falsehoods from a Republican – presidential candidate no less!

    If Perry could bring himself to have an honest accounting of the various factors that went into Texas’ “miracle”, and explain why they did things the way they did and what helped and what hurt – *that* would get my attention.


  2. In The Know: August 17, 2011 | OK Policy Blog says:

    [...] Policy Note, Jared Bernstein shows that nearly half the government jobs added between 2007 and 2010 went to Texas, and Texas depended more on federal stimulus money to plug its budget shortfall than any other [...]


  3. Brian.Montana says:

    I love this blog! Thanks for pulling the data together to show the wackiness that is so common with some of these guys.


  4. Scott says:

    “Turns out Texas was the state that depended the most on those very stimulus funds to plug nearly 97% of its shortfall for fiscal 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.”

    So, when Rick Perry says he balanced the Texas budget without raising taxes, the truth is that Barack Obama balanced the Texas budget without raising taxes.


  5. The Texas miracle « Mercury Rising 鳯女 says:

    [...] Rick Perry has been claiming that he has created half the jobs that were created in America since Obama took office. Set aside that many of these were created by stimulus money, that some were created at the expense of the American people through price gouging on oil, and that many were minimum wage jobs. [added: and all of them were government jobs!] [...]


  6. PJR says:

    Texas employment levels have been growing since Jan 2010. Unlike most states, Texas private sector growth has not been offset by cuts in government jobs. Indeed government jobs have grown by over 50,000 since then. The “Texas miracle” in job growth–i.e. total job growth that other states can envy–is attributable to government job growth (especially if you consider the multiplier effect of government job growth).


  7. Dave says:

    Does the State of Texas hire Federal Government employees? I thought it was the Federal Government.

    Did the State of Texas use ARRA money to hire Federal Government employees? I thought it was the Federal Government.

    The chart does not break down by Government: Local, State, Federal…


    • Christopher says:

      My understanding is that they used federal stimulus money to plug holes in their budget and where therefore able to retain current employees and hire new ones.


    • tubino says:

      State employees are still public sector or govt employees.

      Fed money can help the state employ state/public sector/govt employees.

      What is your misunderstanding, I wonder?


    • RZ0 says:

      I guess if Perry wants to claim credit for goading Obama into hiring a bunch of federal employees, he’s free to do so.
      Talk about Texas miracles!


  8. Nicholas Ciraulo says:

    Implicit to many modern economic thinkers and readers are the critical perspectives of 19th century political economists and the 18th century moral philosophers as Robert Reich recently commented. I say implicit since I cannot comprehend how formally educated people can speak or write about economic issues and speak about jobless recoveries in the same breath. Isn’t there a public purpose to the social sciences in general and economics in particular?

    Now, I sense that Gov Perry’s anti-government rhetoric is symptomatic of this observation in particular and his party in general. Is it that only microeconomics ir real to them and macroeconomics is either denied or considered metephysical with no empirical reality? Keynes should have included this group in his economic paradoxes!

    Their arguement only shouts no macroeconomics, no Keynes, no Democratic party, No Obama? No, No, No,…despite the empirical economic data provided by this essay and the public purpose of Keynesian economic policies.

    No?..


  9. Alejandro Andreotti says:

    Love to believe this, But Political Math had some interesting numbers yesterday, that contradict yours. Care to comment?

    Link here:http://www.politicalmathblog.com/?p=1590


  10. teleprompter says:

    Perry must be polling well against Obama. Of course everyone is polling well against Obama except Elmer Fudd.


  11. MrPitchForks says:

    Why don’t we see reporting like this on the Democrat establishment?


  12. MAJ57 says:

    OMG! So it was Obama who created all the jobs in Texas???? Well, how did Obama manage to fail in the other 49 states???


  13. Rajiv says:

    Finally, great reporting. It’s almost too bad it didn’t come out later during the Perry vs. Obama debate. Texas may have produced a lot of minimum wage and government jobs, but how many great, innovative companies have they created in the last 15 years? I don’t see any Googles, Facebooks, Zynga or Yelps. I’ll give them Dell, but then California has created Yahoo, Oracle, Cisco, VMWare, Juniper and dozens of others in that period. They do have South by Southwest, but that’s in the liberal patch of the state.


  14. Paul says:

    The key points about Texas:
    ILLEGALS entering Texas, using health, education, government services (for free) are responsible for shortfall;
    Growth in Texas has been long-term, over decades;


  15. Tod says:

    I’m glad to see this come to light, but I wish Mr. Bernstein had gone into more depth about the origins of the gov’t jobs.

    How many were jobs for which Gov. Perry would’ve been able to claim any credit?

    What role did he have in seeking stimulus money and/or government jobs for TX?

    That way, we would know if the only point to be taken from this news is just that Gov. Perry overstated the state’s performance or whether he was also being hypocritical about his views on government (was he seeking out government monies and jobs?).

    I’d also like to see what comments Gov. Perry may have made about the federal stimuli and bailouts to see how they correspond with his current rhetoric.


    • Sean says:

      State government jobs. TX: Up 8.4%. U.S.: Down -0.1%.
      Local government jobs. TX: Up 6.1%. U.S.: Down -1.7%.
      Private-sector jobs. TX: Down -0.5%. U.S.: Down -6.6%.
      Oil and gas jobs. TX: Up 6.7%. U.S.: Up 4.5%
      Healthcare jobs. TX: up 12.6%. U.S.: Up 6.2%.
      Private education jobs. TX: Up 17.4%. U.S.: Up 6.5%
      Tech jobs. TX: Down -10.9%. U.S.: Down -10.9%
      Manufacturing jobs. TX: Down -11.6%. U.S.: Down -15.8%
      Construction jobs. TX: Down -14.5% U.S.: Down -26.4%


  16. perryyzzzzz says:

    Here’s the likely hole in this party boat: Rick Perry is all about doing away with FEDERAL government, and pushing that responsibility to the states… IF, in fact, the majority of these government jobs are STATE jobs, then I’ll wager he’d be supportive and in fact proud of it.


  17. Bob says:

    Jared,

    Looking back on the Governor’s complete tenure doesn’t change the picture much. From 1 January 2000 to 1 June 2011, Government jobs increased 21%; Energy jobs 73% (real oil prices more than doubled over the period); Education and Health jobs 44%; and Professional & Business Services (PBS) jobs 22%. Here’s the funny thing about PBS – many DoD contractors fall under PBS so they’re Government dependent too.



  18. Jeff Perren says:

    Why do liberals insist on describing Perry, et al’s statements as “anti-government.” Except for a tiny percentage of anarchist libertarians, no one is anti government.

    How can a governor of one of the largest states properly be described as “anti-government?”

    Perry et al believe the Federal government has overreached its legitimate functions – as, according to the Constitution, they most definitely have.

    That overreach is a significant factor not just in our current economic problems, but in the cultural and moral issues facing the country, as well.

    Progressives need to get a whole lot more honest if they expect to do more than preach to the left-wing choir.


  19. Nathanael says:

    Thank you Jared — facts pointed out much appreciated.


  20. StewartIII says:

    NewsBusters: At CSM Hit Piece, Former Biden Economist Calls Perry ‘Keynesian,’ Errs in Using BLS Data
    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2011/08/18/csm-perry-hit-piece-former-biden-economist-erroneously-applies-bls-data


  21. CarlOmunificent says:

    Among all 50 states, Texas, which forms the bulk of the 11th Federal Reserve District (the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), enjoyed the biggest proportional increase (2.282-fold) in total federal spending received from 1998 (http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2011/tables/11s0477.pdf) to 2008 (http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/sta tab/sec10.pdf).

    Nevada and Arizona, both of which lie in the 12th Federal Reserve District (the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco) that includes California, were 2nd (2.281-fold) and 3rd (2.257-fold), respectively, in terms of proportional increase in total federal spending received from 1998 to 2008.

    New York, which is the largest part of the 2nd Federal Reserve District (the Federal Reserve Bank of New York), ranked 45th in proportional increase (1.745-fold) in total federal spending received from 1998 to 2008.

    From a Keynesian perspective, then, it should not be surprising that a comparison of job growth among the Federal Reserve Districts shows the 11th performed best, and 2nd performed worst, and the 12th was about halfway between the extremes, as Dallas Federal Reserve chair Richard Fisher pointed out in a recent speech (http://www.dallasfed.org/news/speeches/fisher/2011/fs110817.cfm). It could also be argued that credit for job growth in Texas should be given to federal spending, rather than to Governor Perry or any other popularly attributed cause.


  22. CarlOmunificent says:

    Corrected omission*:

    Among all 50 states, Texas, which forms the bulk of the 11th Federal Reserve District (the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas), enjoyed the biggest proportional increase (2.282-fold) in total federal spending received from 1998 (http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2011/tables/11s0477.pdf) to 2008 (http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/sta tab/sec10.pdf).

    Nevada and Arizona, both of which lie in the 12th Federal Reserve District (the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco) that includes California, were 2nd (2.281-fold) and 3rd (2.257-fold), respectively, in terms of proportional increase in total federal spending received from 1998 to 2008. *California was 32nd (1.856-fold) in this regard.

    New York, which is the largest part of the 2nd Federal Reserve District (the Federal Reserve Bank of New York), ranked 45th in proportional increase (1.745-fold) in total federal spending received from 1998 to 2008.

    From a Keynesian perspective, then, it should not be surprising that a comparison of job growth among the Federal Reserve Districts shows the 11th performed best, and 2nd performed worst, and the 12th was about halfway between the extremes, as Dallas Federal Reserve chair Richard Fisher pointed out in a recent speech (http://www.dallasfed.org/news/speeches/fisher/2011/fs110817.cfm). It could also be argued that credit for job growth in Texas should be given to federal spending, rather than to Governor Perry or any other popularly attributed cause.


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