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Tuesday, January 22, 2008
A Look At Mitt Romney's Record of Job Creation

Since the economy is emerging as a key issue in this campaign, I thought I would take a look at Mitt Romney's record of job creation as the governor of Massachusetts. The data to perform this analysis is readily available at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I went to the most requested tables for individual states, and started looking at the total nonfarm employment, seasonally adjusted.

Mitt Romney became governor of Massachusetts in January of 2003. He served the Bay State until January of 2007. The total nonfarm employment when he entered office was 3,225,900, and when he left office it was 3,260,300. Thus the total number of jobs created during Mitt's tenure was 34,400, or a 1.1% increase in the number of jobs over the four year period.

How does that stack up nationally? Well, the US economy as a whole added 5.4% new jobs over the four year period, so over the four years the nation did much better than Massachusetts. In fact, on average the US gained a higher percentage of new jobs every year than Mitt's Massachusetts gained over his entire four year term.

Okay, but maybe it was a regional problem, something out of Mitt's control that the Northeast experienced. So I checked the other states in New England for the four years in question. and it does appear that the area had something of a job creation slowdown compared to the national economy. Here they are in order of highest % of job growth:

New Hampshire: 4.2%
Vermont: 3.2%
Rhode Island: 2.5%
Connecticut: 2.0%
Maine 1.7%
Massachusetts: 1.1%

Hey, somebody's gotta bring up the rear. Adding New Jersey and New York doesn't help, either, as each are around 2.7% in job growth over those same four years. I didn't do all the numbers, but the only states I could find that actually did worse than Massachusetts in job creation were Michigan (-3.8%) and Louisiana (-0.6%), and those are rather well-remarked basket cases for different reasons. Louisiana would clearly have outpaced Massachusetts in job creation over the years in question, had it not been for Katrina. Mississippi, also hit hard by Katrina, ended up with 3.4% job growth.

Mike Huckabee, whom everybody thinks is something of an economic dunce? Jobs in Arkansas grew at close to the national average (5.2%) from January 2003-January 2007.

So whence comes the notion that Mitt Romney knows what to do on the economy?

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