On NBC Nightly News (8/16/11):
ANDREA MITCHELL: Perry’s Texas swagger is his calling card, bred of a hardscrabble boyhood on the family farm and Aggie roots at Texas A&M. Perry’s chief claim to challenging President Obama is the Texas jobs record. Perry says his state produced 40 percent of all the jobs created across America in the last two years, with an unemployment rate at 8.2 percent, well below the national average, partly because of the oil and gas boom, partly because of growing trade with Mexico and federal defense spending in Texas.
Since Perry’s campaign is based almost entirely on his state’s jobs miracle, it’s not too much to ask that journalists get this straight.
An 8.2 percent unemployment rate is not “well below the national average.”The national rate is a little over 9 percent. So, yes, Texas is doing better than the country as a whole–but not by much. Compare Texas to other states, though, and things don’t look so great: The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 26 states have a lower unemployment rate than Texas.