On the campaign trail, Texas Governor Rick Perry loved to boast that Texas's jobs numbers were stronger than California's.
But now, new numbers reveal that more jobs were created in California over the last year than in Texas. In the twelve-month period ending in July, California added 365,100 new non-farm jobs to Texas's 222,500, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"What these new figures do is drive a stake through these weak Republican talking points," Gil Duran, a spokesman for California Governor Jerry Brown, told Bloomberg. "California jobs are coming back at a higher rate here. We hope that happens everywhere."
But Perry spokesman Josh Havens fired back to Bloomberg. "Texas is still the model for job creation and economic growth in this country," he said. Texas will continue Perry's prescribed course of "low taxes, restrained spending, reasonable and predictable regulations, and a fair judicial system" to encourage future economic growth.
While politicians like Perry hold up Texas "as an example of a shining low-tax no-bureaucracy capitalist haven" and dismiss California as "a socialist economy that's destroying itself," this doesn't tell the whole story, Joe Weisenthal opined at Business Insider . He then tried to unpack what was driving these jobs numbers and found that California's fortunes are tied to housing and Texas's to oil.
"When housing improves, California's jobs fortunes improve. When housing weakens, the opposite happens," he wrote. "When oil is doing well relative to housing, Texas benefits, When housing is doing well relative to oil, California benefits. Politics doesn't have much to do with it."
However, at the Atlantic, Jordan Weissmann was not entirely convinced by that line of argument.
It's an interesting theory, but maybe too simple. Texas politics, for instance, are one of the reasons why the state had such strict lending standards that helped it avoid the housing boom and bust that nailed the rest of the Sun Belt, including California. ...
There's another reason why California may be seeing an uptick: growing government. Of the 365,000 jobs it's added in the past year, more than 40,000 have been in the public sector. That's even more than construction, which has added 27,000. Meanwhile, Texas has seen 36,000 government workers disappear.
None of this changes the fact that California still has a 10.7 percent unemployment rate, while Texas is at 7.2 percent. But it is perhaps a sign that it's time to stop using the two as proxies in the war over whether liberals or conservatives are better at creating jobs. It's clearly a bit more complicated than whether a state's policies are tinged red or blue.