As the latest Republican to throw his hat in the ever growing ring of tax cuttin’ job creators, Rick Perry is running on his states lower than average unemployment rate. At 8.2 %, a whopping 0.9% lower than the current national average of 9.1%, Governor Perry touts no income tax and a business friendly environment.
These numbers are indisputable, 37% of all net new American jobs between June 2009 and April 2011 – that’s about 262,000 – were, in fact, created in Texas.
So what’s the catch?
Nearly all of those employed in Texas are paid hourly, not a salary and of those it’s estimated that 9.5% are paid minimum wage or less compared to the rest of the nation which is at around 6%. According to the Texas Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2007 to 2010, the number of minimum wage workers in Texas rose from 221,000 to 550,000, an increase of nearly 150%. Hourly wage workers’ median salary of $11.20 per hour in 2010 lagged behind the national median of $12.50.
Lots of numbers to sift through here and while it ay not make for a great sound bite, it’s got meat. The bottom line is that if your state is rich in oil production with little to no regulation then putting people to work for scraps may look good on the books but most of those Perry is bragging about are underpaid and underemployed.