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AP: When Mitt Romney and Rick Perry thumped their chests over their job-creation records as governor during the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night, they left the bad parts out.
Yes, employment has grown by more than 1 million since Perry took office in Texas. But a lot of those jobs are not well paid.
True, unemployment dropped to 4.7 percent when Romney was Massachusetts governor. But the state’s employment growth was among the nation’s worst.
A look at some of the claims in the debate, and how they compare with the facts:
PERRY: “Ninety-five percent of all the jobs that we’ve created have been above minimum wage.”
THE FACTS: To support the claim, the Perry campaign provided federal statistics for December 2010 showing only 5.3 percent of all jobs in Texas pay the minimum wage.
But those figures represent all workers, not just the new jobs, for which data in unavailable. And that does not account for low-wage jobs that may be above the minimum wage. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, 51 percent of all Texas workers make less than $33,000 a year. Only 30 percent make more than $50,000 a year. Nationally, Texas ranked 34th in median household income from 2007 to 2009.
About 9.5 percent of Texas hourly workers, excluding those who are paid salaries, earn the minimum wage or less, tying Mississippi for the highest percentage in the nation.
ROMNEY: “At the end of four years, we had our unemployment rate down to 4.7 percent. That’s a record I think the president would like to see. As a matter of fact, we created more jobs in Massachusetts than this president has created in the entire country.”
THE FACTS: To be sure, 4.7 percent unemployment would be a welcome figure nationally. But Romney started from a much better position than President Barack Obama did. Unemployment was only 5.6 percent when Romney took office in 2003, meaning it came down by less than 1 percentage point when he left office in 2007. Obama inherited a national unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.