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Mitt Romney
stated on October 18, 2011 in a campaign video.:
Says more than 1 million Texans are jobless, the state has its highest unemployment rate in more than 20 years and joblessness doubled on Rick Perry’s watch.
true half-true
By Sue Owen October 20, 2011

Mitt Romney paints a dire picture of Texas unemployment on Rick Perry's watch

A video posted this week on a Mitt Romney website (for the moment dedicated to Rick Perry) shows tumbleweeds blowing across an empty highway behind headlines indicating the Texas economy is sinking fast with Perry at the state’s helm.

The video, titled "The Facts," trumpets these eye-catching claims:

Featured Fact-check

  • "Over 1 million Texans out of work"
  • "Highest unemployment rate in Texas in over 20 years"
  • "Unemployment has doubled on Perry’s watch"

These claims are traced in Romney’s video to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Fair enough. Information from the agency, a reliable source for job-related calculations, earlier helped us confirm that 1.04 million Texans were unemployed as of August 2011, the latest month for which such data were available.

Also correct, per the bureau: The state’s August 2011 unemployment rate, 8.5 percent, was the highest Texas had experienced since the 9.3 percent rate reached in November 1986, nearly 25 years before.

Finally, the unemployment rate has doubled during Perry’s governorship -- going from 4.2 percent in December 2000 to 8.5 percent in August 2011.

However, we rated a previous Romney claim to this effect Half True. Experts reminded us that governors have little to do with statewide job losses or gains that take place during their terms. Put another way, neither Romney nor Perry merits credit or blame for job conditions in their respective states. Economies rise and fall due to many conditions beyond a governor’s sway.         

That should make the next debate a lot shorter, shouldn’t it?

The logical weakness in blaming a state’s governor for the state’s jobless residents and unemployment rate makes Romney’s triple-barreled claim Half True.

Our Sources

Mitt Romney campaign website,, accessed October 19, 2011

Mitt Romney campaign video, "The Facts," published October 17, 2011

PolitiFact Texas Truth-O-Meter item, "Mitt Romney campaign says Texas unemployment doubled under Rick Perry," September 23, 2011

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, chart showing "Current Unemployment Rates for States and Historical Highs/Lows" and  Local Area Unemployment Statistics for Texas and Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey (accessed September 22 and 23, 2011)
Chart showing Texas unemployment rates 2000-2011, generated on Bureau of Labor Statistics website September 22, 2011
The New York Times, news article, "Opposing Views on Perry as Job-Creating Master," Sept. 22, 2011
Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, analysis, "Texas Twist: Why Did State’s Unemployment Fall Below Nation’s?," third quarter 2010
PolitiFact Texas Truth-O-Meter article, "Back to Basics PAC says Gov. Rick Perry has overseen the highest unemployment in Texas in 22 years," August 28, 2010

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More by Sue Owen

Mitt Romney paints a dire picture of Texas unemployment on Rick Perry's watch

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