On Fox News Sunday, NPR's Mara Liasson claimed job creation is Mitt Romney's "brand," adding that "this is his issue ... and I think that that really helps him." But as governor of Massachusetts, "Romney presided over one of the puniest rates of employment growth among the 50 U.S. states, at a time the nation's economy was booming," according to Reuters.
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Liasson Claims Job Creation Is Romney's "Brand"
Liasson On Romney: "Job creation is his brand." From the June 5 edition of Fox News Sunday:
LIASSON: This was a pretty good week for Mitt Romney to announce. Job creation is his brand. He's the turnaround artist. He can say that he's created jobs. Democrats will point out he also shed some when he took over these companies, but this is his --
JOHN PODESTA (Center for American Program CEO and president): Shipped them overseas.
LIASSON: Yeah, shipped them overseas. This is his issue and that's what this election is becoming about with a vengeance and I think that that really helps him. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 6/5/11]
But Under Romney, Job Growth In Massachusetts Was Among Lowest In the Country
Reuters: "Romney Presided Over One Of The Puniest Rates Of Employment Growth ... At A Time When The Nation's Economy Was Booming." From an April 12 Reuters report:
Romney stressed his experience as head of private equity firm Bain Capital when he announced on Monday he was forming an exploratory committee on seeking the Republican 2012 nomination to challenge Obama, a Democrat.
He made a fortune wheeling and dealing in companies, some of which endured big job cuts as part of restructuring. Some ultimately went bankrupt.
[A]s Massachusetts governor from January 2003 to January 2007, Romney presided over one of the puniest rates of employment growth among the 50 U.S. states, at a time the nation's economy was booming.
Labor Department figures showed Massachusetts ranked 47th among the states in the rate of jobs growth in those four years -- ahead of only Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. [Reuters, 4/12/11]
WSJ's Brett Arends: Mass. Job Growth "Badly Lagged Other High-Skill, High-Wage, Knowledge Economy States." According to a February 2010 MarketWatch article by Wall Street Journal columnist Brett Arends:
Romney, who may well be President Barack Obama's opponent in 2012, he had great time last week blaming the president for the current jobs shortage.
Speaking to the CPAC right-wing conference in Washington, D.C., Romney said that the dismal employment situation, a year after Obama took office, showed the president was a "failure" who was "going downhill faster than... Lindsey Vonn."
OK, let's take him at his word. Then what does that say about Romney?
The Republican contender was the governor of Massachusetts from January 2003 to January 2007. And during that time, according to the U.S. Labor Department, the state ranked 47th in the entire country in jobs growth. Fourth from last.
The only ones that did worse? Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. In other words, two rustbelt states and another that lost its biggest city to a hurricane.
The Massachusetts jobs growth over that period, a pitiful 0.9%, badly lagged other high-skill, high-wage, knowledge economy states like New York (2.7%), California (4.7%) and North Carolina (7.6%).
The national average: More than 5%.
This was after four years. So far Obama has been in office for just one year. How was Romney's performance by his first anniversary?
Fiftieth out of fifty.
That's right. In Romney's first year in charge, Massachusetts ranked dead last in America in jobs growth. [MarketWatch, 2/23/11]
FactCheck.org: "Romney's job record provides little to boast about." In January 2008, FactCheck.org examined Romney's claim that Massachusetts gained jobs "every single month" when he was governor and concluded:
Payroll jobs in Massachusetts hit their low point in December 2003 at the end of Romney's first year in office. And the number of jobs declined in seven of the remaining 36 months of his term, as measured by total nonfarm employment, seasonally adjusted, which is the standard measure of payroll employment used by economists and journalists. The claim that jobs increased "every single month" is false.
Furthermore, Romney's job record provides little to boast about. By the end of his four years in office, Massachusetts had squeezed out a net gain in payroll jobs of just 1 percent, compared with job growth of 5.3 percent for the nation as a whole. [FactCheck.org, 1/11/08]
Economist Andrew Sum: Wages Also "Stagnated During Romney's Term." From a June 2008 Reuters report:
The former Massachusetts governor issued a statement on Sunday titled "creating jobs" that focuses on 57,600 jobs added to the Massachusetts economy during his single term as governor from 2003 to 2007.
But Northeastern University economist Andrew Sum, who has researched Romney's record, said the state lagged the U.S. average during that period in job creation, economic growth and wage increases.
"As a strict labor market economist looking at the record, Massachusetts did very poorly during the Romney years, he said. "On every measure you've got, the state was a substantial under-performer."
His supporters contend the state's job market was soft long before Romney's term, which ended in January last year, blaming a Democratic-controlled Legislature for the weakness. His spokesman, Kevin Madden, has asserted that Romney brought Massachusetts "back from the brink of financial disaster."
But Northeastern's Sum said that while jobs were created under Romney, the rate was the third-lowest in the nation after Hurricane Katrina-hit Louisiana and Michigan. At the same time, wages in the New England state stagnated during Romney's term.
The average weekly wage of Massachusetts workers, Sum said, rose by just a $1 between 2001 and 2006 after adjusting for inflation, while the state had the third-highest rate of population loss in the nation between July 2002 and July 2006.
Real output of goods and services -- a broad measure of economic performance -- grew 9 percent, below the 13 percent rate for the United States, he added. [Reuters, 1/20/08]