Political Animal


October 26, 2011 1:10 PM Rick Perry’s jobs metric

By Steve Benen

Rick Perry’s presidential campaign launched its first television ad campaign this week, spending about $230,000 to have this spot run in Iowa over the next week.

For those who can’t watch videos online, Perry tells viewers, “As president I’ll create at least 2-and-a-half million new jobs, and I know something about that. In Texas we’ve created over 1 million new jobs while the rest of the nation lost over 2 million. I’ll start by opening America’s oil and gas fields. I’ll eliminate President Obama’s regulations that hurt other sources of domestic energy, like coal and natural gas. That’ll create jobs and reduce our reliance on oil from countries that hate America.”

As a factual matter, there’s quite a bit wrong with Perry’s pitch, but there’s one part of this that stood out for me: the Texas governor is vowing to create at least 2.5 million jobs. The number appears on screen in the ad; it’s apparently intended to seem impressive.

What an interesting metric for success.

In fact, if Perry believes voters should be impressed with his vow to create 2.5 million jobs, the Texas governor should probably be more impressed with President Obama’s jobs record.

Let’s consider the jobs data. Over the last year and a half, as the economic recovery has slowly progressed, the economy has added 2.56 million private-sector jobs. Over that same period — March 2010 through September 2011 — the overall economy has added 2.1 million jobs, and should reach the 2.5 million mark by early next year.

Now, no one is saying these totals are good enough. Indeed, given the job losses in 2008 and 2009, generated by a Great Recession that began in 2007, they’re not even close to what’s needed. The fact that the private sector has added 2.56 million jobs over the last year and a half hasn’t been nearly sufficient to bring the unemployment rate down in a hurry or end the jobs crisis.

But for the purposes of evaluating the Texas governor’s first campaign ad, the bottom line is nevertheless interesting — Rick Perry believes he’ll able to create the same number of jobs in four years that Barack Obama has created in a year and a half.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • Gummo on October 26, 2011 1:19 PM:

    Doesn't matter.

    The people who respond positively to Perry's ad will never hear Obama's job creation numbers. They've been told ad nauseum that Obama has ruined the economy, lost the country jobs, saddled it with debt, and left once-plucky American businessmen crushed under the burden of oppressive Communist-style rules and regulations.

    None of which is remotely true, but where will they ever hear that? Not on Fox News. Not on CNN. Not on any of the broadcast network news shows. Not on Limbaugh or any other far-right talk radio show.

    Our standards and priorities are interesting -- it's against the law to lie in an advertisement for a commercial product or service, but lying in a political ad or on a political talk show is lavishly rewarded.

  • martin on October 26, 2011 1:33 PM:

    As I recall, the gov't doesn't create jobs, at least according to the right wing.

  • zeitgeist on October 26, 2011 1:33 PM:

    Gummo, I agree with what you say but we shouldn't be counting on Fox or CNN or the broadcast networks to respond to paid spots anyway. In politics, the way to respond to paid spots is with your own paid spots.

    Most people don't know Obama's job numbers because (a) he hasn't made nearly as big an issue of it as he should have and (b) stories on employment almost always use the unemployment rate, or incremental weekly/monthly net jobs created or lost so even moderate information voters likely have no feel for the total figures in millions.

    The easy cure for this is to run a spot that makes Perry look silly. Either Obama, left-of-center 527s, or Perry's Republican opponents can (and should) do that on their own, without waiting for help from the television news shows.

  • c u n d gulag on October 26, 2011 1:35 PM:

    Where did Perry study?

    The Dr. Evil School of Economics?

    "I will create 200,000 JOBS!"
    (whisper, whisper, whisper)

    "Oh, really?"
    (whisper, whisper, whisper)

    "Ok then - I will create 2 MILLION JOBS!"

    I will say this for the boy - as a candidate, I find him highly entertaining.
    But if you make Little Boots sound like the the Smartest Guy in Texas, you may be in well over your head.
    I wouldn't take him for President if we were the last nation on Earth - bacause we might not survive the swearing in ceremony.

  • Danp on October 26, 2011 1:48 PM:

    Oh, great. We can all be coal miners. But first we have to get rid of mine safety regulations.

  • Ron Byers on October 26, 2011 1:50 PM:

    I was thinking about the counter ad from the Obama campaign.

    "We have already created over 2 million jobs in the private sector, more than were created under the Bush administration before the Wall Street collapse, but that isn't nearly enough. We have a real jobs plan to rebuild America. One that doesn't depend on ruining our air and water or leaving millions ill from industrial pollution. Join with President Obama and demand that the Republicans in Congress pass the Administration's jobs plan."

  • T2 on October 26, 2011 2:17 PM:

    Gummo is correct, the Media has seen to it that the public knows nothing about Obama job creation, Obama tax cuts, Obama success in saving GM, and so forth. That's why ads like Perry's can succeed.
    I like the like the line about "oil from countries that hate us".....Clearly Rick has no idea where our petro comes from. Mostly from Mexico, Central America. And Saudis.
    Maybe Mexico is considered hating us, at least along the Texas border.

  • barkleyg on October 26, 2011 2:29 PM:

    BILL CLINTON: 24 million jobs added. That 250,000 a month, EVERY month, for 8 YEARS!

  • jjm on October 26, 2011 2:34 PM:

    I'm spreading this column around. Great analysis.

    The people are beginning to see through the GOP; witness Ryan's screeching about Elizabeth Warren and the delusions of liberalism. Who, pray tell, is more attractive: Eddie Munster's look alike, or the down to earth Elizabeth?

  • Ron Byers on October 26, 2011 2:52 PM:


    That was back in the days when the "job creators" needed to create jobs to get rich. These days the "job creators" don't actually have to do anything to make their money. All they have to do is go to the Wall Street casino and place their sure thing bets.

    I am coming to the conclusion that nobody, and I mean nobody, is even talking about what America needs to do to create jobs.

  • doubtful on October 26, 2011 2:54 PM:

    The jobs Texas gained are ill gotten, stolen from other states using tax policy and giveaways and 'race to the bottom' conditions for workers.

    If Perry was in charge of the entire country (and that's never going to happen, so it's a moot point) where would he steal those jobs from?

  • Jim on October 26, 2011 3:00 PM:

    Adjusted for population growth, Perry's 2.5 million job promise is about the same as George H.W. Bush's 2 million job promise in 1988, which at the time was widely recognized as about the minimum number of jobs required to keep the unemployment rate from growing. A 2.5 million job promise, in other words, is not a promise of job growth, but of job stasis.

  • DMask on October 26, 2011 3:24 PM:

    Very well put Gummo. The truth has become something of a thing of the past; it matters little to a lot of people. Yet lies and distortions can never go unchallenged; if the media want correct them; then others must. Too many people are not listening with their ears, only with their hearts/emotions and some; some are just stirring the pot. I have had many discussions with supporters of the Tea Party and the GOP. It almost always boils down to what they have "heard" or what they were "told" and when challenged they have no defense for what they say is the cause of our problems. The people in 2011 have many more ways of obtaining their information and all media is not bad media. People just need to actually do some of the work themselves and not rely solely on being told what is going on.
    I feel hope that the vast majority of the voting public see the truth and recognize that the President has tried to help. They just need to get out and vote; the choices are very, very clear. The choices may not be "ideal" for everyone; yet they are indeed clear. Vote, because statistics don't win elections; nor create real reform! With over a year before the election; in terms of disinformation and pure lies; it will get much worse before it gets better. As long as President Obama continues to offer ideas to improve our economy, he has my vote. Please don't forget to vote!

  • bigtuna on October 26, 2011 3:49 PM:

    So in the industry, we measure acivity with two metrics: rig counts, and apds - applicaitons for permits to drill.

    Rig count - now, about 1980 in the US; up 350 from last year, which is up from the year before.

    APDs - also up.


    the O&G shills will never say this, but times are pretty damn good in the oil patch right now.

    btw - I have no idea where Perry gets 2.5 million jobs. There are not enough rigs, piplines, compressors, trucks, refineries, etc., to sustain that sort of employment number.

  • Schtick on October 26, 2011 4:00 PM:

    "jjm on October 26, 2011 2:34 PM: ...Eddie Munster's look alike..."

    OMG! He DOES look like Eddie Munster! ROFLMAO

    crapcha....was dicalay....I thought it was Tom DeLay.

  • bigtuna on October 26, 2011 4:22 PM:

    Forgot to add my point. In the US, we drill more when, gasp, demand is up, and thus prices are up, and the risk in other places is too high. While everyone wants fewer regs., the basic drivers are pretty fundamental - it is all about the economics, stupid.

  • Lance on October 26, 2011 5:59 PM:

    Do we get to count the job loses in Rick Perry's recession against his total the say way we count the job losses in 2009 against Obama's total job creation?

    But the debate response writes itself. Obama: "Governor Perry is promising 2.5 million jobs in four years? Hell, I've created that many in 1 and a half years."

    Boom. Done. Then End.

  • anandine on October 27, 2011 8:28 AM:

    The thing is, it takes around 150,000 new jobs a month to keep up with growth of labor market, so in four years, Perry would have to create 7 million jobs just to stay even.

  • spencer on October 27, 2011 1:11 PM:

    Very good bigtuna.

    Actually domestic oil production rose in both 2009 and 2010.

    This is the first time since Carter was president and the days of oil price controls and the windfall profits tax that domestic oil production rose fro two consecutive years.

    Wonder why oil output did not rise when the Republicans controlled both Congress and the White House.Maybe it is because the oil companies get better returns by investing in Republican politicians than by actually drilling for oil.

    Since Obama is not on their payrolls the oil executives figure they have to do something radical, like producing more oil to actually grow profits.

    Maybe it is b