Republican Gov. Rick Perry frequently talks up the Texas economy, focusing in recent TV ads on the state's job gains since he took office almost 10 years ago.
"Texas added more than 850,000 new jobs," Perry says in a "New Jobs" spot that debuted online Oct. 13. "More Texans have new jobs today than the entire population of Fort Worth."
For an article published Sept. 23, we put the 850,000 number to the Truth-O-Meter, rating it True.
On Oct. 11, Katy Bacon, spokeswoman for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill White, wrote us an e-mail suggesting that the jobs picture might have changed since our first pass, making the claim inaccurate.
We put our pencils to her point, though in this article we'll be rating whether Perry's comparison of job gains to Fort Worth's population holds water.
In an Oct. 19 news release about the "New Jobs" ad, the Perry campaign points to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on state employment to show the change in the number of nonfarm jobs in Texas between January 2001, shortly after Perry became governor, and June 2010. During that time, the state experienced a net gain of 853,400 jobs.
Of course, Texas was also growing during that time; according to projections from the Texas State Data Center, the population increased by about 4 million people between 2001 and 2010.
Texas, the second-largest state, is among the 20 states that had net job gains during the 9.5-year span from January 2001 to June 2010. Texas ranked No. 1, followed by Arizona (132,700 jobs) and Utah (113,200 jobs).
Yet — as White's camp nudged — June's numbers are no longer the most recent. By July 2010, Texas' net job gain had dropped to 848,000. In August, it fell even further, to 818,500, although that month's job numbers were preliminary until Friday, after Perry's ad was released. The August information makes Perry's figure off by 31,500 jobs.
Bottom line? Perry's statement that Texas added more than 850,000 jobs is correct when considering a particular time period (that he doesn't mention in the ad): between January 2001 and June 2010. By August, that statement was no longer accurate, but that information wasn't final until after Perry's ad came out.
Next, how do the job gains compare with the population of Cowtown, the state's fifth-largest city? For its head count, the governor's team uses a population estimate from the City of Fort Worth's website: 736,200 people as of Jan. 1, 2010. The U.S. Census Bureau's most recent estimate — for July 1, 2009 — is 727,577.
We asked Ed Friedman, a director at Moody's Analytics who covers the Texas economy, about the validity of Perry's comparison of statewide job gains over time with Fort Worth's population in 2010. He called the comparison a reasonable way for Perry "to give you an idea of the size of the gain."
Either way, the Fort Worth comparison stands up because no matter which final month is chosen, the number of Texas jobs has gone up more than the population of Fort Worth.
We rate Perry's statement as True.