In a recent TV ad, Gov. Rick Perry boasts that Texas is "open for business."
"We've created more than 850,000 jobs, more than all the other states combined," Perry says in the Sept. 12 spot. An Aug. 24 Houston Chronicle headline appears on the screen: "By any measure, Texas tops nation in job creation."
The Perry campaign pointed us to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks jobs in each state. In January 2001, shortly after Perry became governor, Texas had 9,542,400 nonfarm jobs. As of June: 10,395,800. That's a net gain of 853,400 jobs, a surge of 8.9 percent. From July 2000 to July 2009, the state grew by about 3.8 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Texas, the second-largest state, has created more jobs than any other state in Perry's time as governor. Arizona created the second-most jobs, 132,700, followed by Utah with 113,200.
Twenty states and the District of Columbia have enjoyed a net job gain during Perry's tenure, while California, the most populous state, has lost the most jobs: 827,800. Michigan lost the second most, 755,900, followed by Ohio, at 557,300.
Excluding Texas and including the District of Columbia, which had a net gain of 59,100 jobs, all the states combined had a net job loss of 3,185,000 from January 2001 to June 2010.
Cheryl Abbot, an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Dallas, confirmed that Perry is correct in saying that Texas added more jobs than all the other states combined. "Texas was one of the very few who even added jobs over that time," she said.
That's not to say that Texas hasn't lost jobs. At its peak, Texas had about 10.64 million jobs in August 2008. About a year later, when the recession was in full swing, only 10.21 million jobs were on the payroll — about 430,000 less. Since, Texas has added about 180,000 jobs. That's about 250,000 fewer than its best.
Worth noting: the Houston Chronicle article that the ad highlights looks at Texas job gains during that recent upswing, from July 2009 to July 2010 — just the past year of Perry's tenure as governor.
We also wondered how many jobs were created in the state government — Perry's domain. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, Texas had 334,100 state government jobs in 2001, the year Perry took office, and 369,800 in 2009 — an increase of 35,700 jobs, or 10.7 percent, on Perry's watch.
Significantly, Perry doesn't overtly take personal credit for the state leading the nation in jobs gained over his years as governor. We rate his statement as True.
This story has been updated to correct the month that Perry became governor. He succeeded George W. Bush on December 21, 2000, not in January 2001.