August 16, 2011, 9:52 am
More About the Texas Unmiracle
Felix Salmon does the Texas story in terms of employment-population ratios rather than unemployment, which is a good idea. I actually thought of that too, but there’s a bit of a problem — it’s hard to get a state-level equivalent of the usual ratio, which shows employment from the household survey relative to the adult population.
It is, however, easy to calculate cruder versions. Salmon does one; here’s another, straight from FRED: the ratio of nonfarm employment to total population. The red line is the nation as a whole, the blue line Texas.
You don’t want to make much of the fact that the Texas line is lower, since the state has a high birth rate and hence a large proportion of children. Farm employment may also factor in here.
But this graph should put paid to the notion that Texas somehow escaped the recession, or that there was something miraculous about its job creation. Once you take account of population growth, nothing special happened.