A bad statistic for 'Governor Romney'

2012-07-11 09:05

Much of politics is simply an effort to out-bulldust your closest opposition, and the US is no exception.
Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is being hammered by the President Barack Obama campaign repeatedly over his job-creating ability.

The point is fair game: Romney has run on a platform of being able to create jobs to deal with the USA’s 8.2% unemployment rate, and has boasted of his career in the private sector as an investment capitalist through which he is equipped to do it.

However, he also has a single term as governor of Massachusetts, (which he has barely acknowledged during this run for President), which his opponents have decided to blast.
You have most likely heard the Obama campaign and its surrogates bang on about how Massachusetts was ranked 47th out of 51 states (this statistic includes Washington DC as a state) in job creation during Romney’s gubernatorial term.

And that statistic is arguably correct, but gives you an untrue view of what actually went on under Governor Romney’s administration.

Different take

This job creation stat, which is calculated by using the number of actual jobs in the state at the beginning of Romney’s term, and the number at the end, is correct.

If you take the number of jobs in Massachusetts from January 2003, and the number in January 2007 and work out the increase, it was indeed 47th overall in job creation when compared to all the other states using the same methodology.
However, if you take each year of job growth under Romney’s governorship using the number of jobs every January, Massachusetts was dead last in 2003, 46th in 2004, 40th in 2005 and then 30th in 2006.

That’s a slightly different take on the exact same period of time, and is a better idea of the jobs situation of the state under Romney than taking into account the diabolical job creation rate during Romney’s first year (which carries a lot of weight when averaging all the stats out).
The “47th in job creation” statistic also includes Romney’s first year as governor when it is unlikely his policies would have taken much of an effect (although, to be fair, Romney doesn’t believe this when criticising Obama’s tenure as President).

That being said, it is also debateable what impact a governor has on the job creating possibilities of his state, as the national economy (and perhaps the European economy, currently) is regarded as more determinative.
But for those of us that care about facts and like them to be correct, the “47th in job creation” accusation thrown at Romney is misleading. While it can be justified factually, it is not a true reflection of how the Romney reign fared.