The Romney campaign responded to reports that during Governor Romney’s tenure as the chief executive of Massachusetts he wasn’t particularly successful at creating jobs because the unemployment rate in the Bay State was 4.5% at the end of his term. YAWN. There are some reasons to indulge in a simultaneous inhalation of air and stretching of the ear drums followed by an immediate exhalation of breath.
#1. 2007 was also the year that Nevada had a 4.7% unemployment rate, California had a 5.7% unemployment rate, Arizona had a 3.7% rate, while Florida had a 4.0% rate — can we say “Housing Bubble?” [BLS] The national average that year was 4.6%, and that doesn’t make the 4.5% look all that impressive.
#2. Massachusetts’ unemployment rate in 2003 was 5.8%, compared to a national unemployment average of 6.0%. [BLS] It doesn’t look as though Mr. Romney can argue he was “starting out in a hole.”
#3. As of 2004, the national unemployment rate was 5.5%, while the Massachusetts rate was 5.2%. [BLS] In 2005 the national rate was 5.1% and the MA rate was 4.8%. [BLS] The national rate of unemployment in 2006 was 4.6%, while the Massachusetts rate was 4.8%. [BLS] It may not do to get too excited about the reduction of unemployment levels in a state when the outcome amounts to a +0.2% overall gain in four years.
#4. The job creation Romney promised in Massachusetts never really materialized. “By the time Romney left the State House, Massachusetts had generated 24,400 net new jobs, according to an analysis by Moody’s Economy.com, an independent research group. The state had only an 0.8 percent increase in employment, giving it the fourth-weakest rate of job growth among all states over that time.” [Boston Globe]