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BRIDGE BRIEFING: Romney’s Poor Jobs Record In Massachusetts

Massachusetts Job Creation Ranked Poorly Under Romney

In Romney’s Four Years As Governor Massachusetts Ranked 47th Out Of 50 In Jobs Growth. According to Marketwatch, “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%.” [Marketwatch, 2/23/10]

In Romney’s First Year In Charge, Massachusetts “Ranked Dead Last In America In Job Growth.” According to Marketwatch, “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, 2/23/10]

Massachusetts Unemployment Rate “Showed Little Movement During Romney’s Tenure” And Went From Below The National Average When He Took Office To Above The National Average When He Left. According to the Associated Press, “The state’s unemployment numbers also showed little movement during Romney’s tenure. In December 2002, as Romney prepared to step into office, Massachusetts unemployment rate stood at 5.6 percent, slightly lower than the national unemployment rate of 6 percent. By December 2006 – Romney’s last full month in office – national unemployment had fallen to just 4.5 percent while Massachusetts unemployment numbers had inched down to 5.2 percent. ‘We’ve had a very slow economic recovery and we’ve trailed most of the rest of the nation,’ said Michael Widmer, president of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. ‘It’s not the turnaround he’s advertised.’” [Associated Press, 2/4/08]

Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation President: Massachusetts Did Not Have “Turnaround” Under Romney And “Job Growth Has Been Anemic.” According to the New York Times, Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation president Michael J. Widmer said, “When he talks about a turnaround, we really haven’t had a turnaround. We had a temporary fiscal respite. But we’re trailing the nation in job growth. Our job growth has been anemic.” Widmer added, “His public statements vastly overstated where [Massachusetts] stands.” [New York Times, 3/16/07]

Factcheck.org: “Romney’s Jobs Record Provides Little To Boast About” As Massachusetts Only Gained 1% In Payroll Jobs Over His Term Compared To 5.3% In The Nation As A Whole. According to Factcheck.org “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]

The Number Of Jobs Gained Under Romney Was Just “A Fraction” Of The 200,000 Lost During The 2001 Recession And Massachusetts Was One Of Only Six States To Not Gain All Their Jobs Back From The Recession. According to the Associated Press, “It’s part of Mitt Romney’s core narrative: Massachusetts, in the throes of a fiscal freefall, fell back on his CEO skills and turnaround wizardry to spark – in his words – ‘a dramatic reversal of state fortunes and a period of sustained economic expansion.’ It’s a rosy opinion of Massachusetts’ economy that few in the state share. Instead, observers say, the state’s recovery from a disastrous 2001 recession has been tepid at best, and Romney gives himself more credit than deserved on job creation and balancing the state budget… According to state unemployment numbers, the net number of jobs added during the four years Romney was in office was 24,400 – a fraction of the total of about 200,000 lost during the recession. Although the number of new jobs steadily climbed during Romney’s four years in office – from a loss of 54,700 in his first year to a gain of 34,700 in his final year – most of the rest of the country rebounded much faster. Massachusetts is one of just six states that hasn’t added back all the jobs lost during the recession. ‘Our losses were steeper, and our gains have been slower and as an end result we are still nearly 100,000 jobs down,’ said Dana Ansel, research director for the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, a nonpartisan think tank.” [Associated Press, 2/4/08]

Manufacturing Jobs Were Lost Under Romney

Romneys Budget Cuts To Manufacturing Partnership Hampered Effort To Save Thousands Of Jobs. “Romney’s recent move to slice $425 million from state spending will hamper the efforts of a program that has helped hundreds of small manufacturers compete, survive, and save thousands of jobs. The program, the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, or MassMEP, is jointly funded by state and federal governments and considered by business officials to be a particularly effective economic development effort… Over the past five years, MassMEP has helped small manufacturers create or retain some 3,000 jobs, generate sales of more than $300 million, and undertake nearly $100 million in new investments, according to annual client surveys.” [Boston Globe, 11/23/06]

Under Romney Manufacturing Jobs In Massachusetts Declined By Twice The National Average—”The Third Worst Record In The Country.” According to the Boston Globe, “Manufacturing payroll employment throughout the nation declined by nearly 1.1 million or 7 percent between 2002 and 2006, but in Massachusetts it declined by more than 14 percent, the third worst record in the country.” [Boston Globe, 7/29/07]

Massachusetts Economy Was “One Of The Worst In The Country” Under Romney

During Romney’s Tenure As Governor Massachusetts’ Economic Performance Was “One Of The Worst In The Country” On “All Key Labor Market Measures.” According to the Boston Globe, “As Mitt Romney pursues his bid for the presidency, his record as Massachusetts governor will come under scrutiny, including how the state’s economy performed during his administration. Our analysis reveals a weak comparative economic performance of the state over the Romney years, one of the worst in the country. On all key labor market measures, the state not only lagged behind the country as a whole, but often ranked at or near the bottom of the state distribution.” [Boston Globe, 7/29/07]

Massachusetts’ Economy Performed Poorly During Romney’s Term As Governor. According to The Nation, “So which statistic is more meaningful and what impact did Romney’s decisions as governor have on job growth?  The answer to the first is easy: Massachusetts’ economy performed poorly during his tenure and his defense is misleading. Massachusetts’ unemployment generally follows that of the nation as a whole, but it went from slightly better than the national unemployment rate (5.6 percent in the state versus 5.8 percent in the country) when he took office to slightly worse when he left (4.7 percent in Massachusetts versus 4.4 percent nationally). And his record is even arguably worse than that: Massachusetts lost population for two years in a row during Romney’s term. That means the unemployment number went down because the denominator shrank, but that’s hardly a sign of a growing economy. Total jobs in Massachusetts were the same when he left office as when he started and many key industries actually lost jobs.”  [The Nation, 11/14/11]

Job Growth In The U.S. Was Swifter Under Obama Than Job Growth In Massachusetts Under Romney. According to The Washington Post, “In response to Mitt Romney’s inevitable criticism of President Obama’s economic record following Friday’s bleak jobs report, the pro-Obama PAC American Bridge is circulating the following video, taken from a Romney press conference on June 24, 2006 (via Andrew Sullivan): The takeaway, as Alexander Burns puts it, is that ‘rhetorically, there’s not much space between Obama ca. 2012 and Romney ca. 2006.’ But how much space was there economically? […] Romney’s right that employment was increasing later in his term. What’s more, when he made the above remarks in June 2006, employment was up by 52,025 from its trough in August 2003, so his claim of 50,000 jobs gained is accurate. But job growth has been swifter in the United States under Obama than it was in Massachusetts under Romney, so by 2006 Romney’s standards, Obama’s doing a bang-up job. Of course, job growth under Obama has been perhaps not swift enough, given the huge output gap left by the economic downturn, and Romney was governing during a period of full employment in which dramatic job gains aren’t going to be forthcoming. But again, if Romney thinks the pace of job growth during his tenure suggests his policies were working, then it follows that the pace of job growth under Obama suggests the president is really doing something right.” [The Washington Post, 7/9/12]

Massachusetts’ Infrastructure Accrued A $20 Billion Deficit Of Overdue Maintenance By The End Of Romney’s Term. According to The Nation, “Meanwhile, Massachusetts’ infrastructure accrued a $20 billion deficit of overdue maintenance by the end of Romney’s term, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayer’s Foundation. “When you’re not fixing bridges, that’s a sector not creating jobs,” says Massachusetts Democratic Party chair John Walsh. “It’s foolish because you’re not creating savings, you’re just deferring the spending until problems get worse and the cost gets higher.” [The Nation, 11/14/11]

Boston Globe: Few People Should “See Anything Funny About” Massachusetts’ Economic Performance During The Romney Years. According to an op-ed published in the Boston Globe, “A full-time governor who is deeply committed to the economic well-being of a state’s workers can, however, make some difference. The state unfortunately did not receive such leadership over most of the past four years. Jokes about Massachusetts may receive some half-hearted laughter on the national campaign trail, but few working men and women in Massachusetts should see anything funny about the state’s lackluster economic performance during the Romney years.” [Boston Globe, 7/29/07]

Massachusetts Wages Fell Under Romney

Massachusetts Wages and Income Fell By 2 Percent During Romney Years. According to the Boston Globe, “Between 2002 and 2006, the median real (inflation adjusted) weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers in Massachusetts is estimated to have fallen by $10 or nearly 2 percent. The real income of the average (median) family in Massachusetts in 2005 was 1 percent below its value at the time of the 2000 Census while median household income was 3 percent below its 2000 value. Median household income fell even more sharply in the nation. Family incomes in both the United States and Massachusetts have become more unevenly distributed since 2000.” [Boston Globe, 7/28/07]

Between 2003 And 2005 The Median Hourly Wage For Massachusetts Workers Fell 5%–The Largest Decline In The Country During That Period. According to the Massachusetts Budget And Policy Center, “Perhaps even worse, wages in Massachusetts, after adjusting for inflation, have dropped across the labor force over the last few years. In particular, the median hourly wage that is, the wage earned by the typical Massachusetts worker fell close to 5 percent between 2003 and 2005, the largest decline in the country during that period and the largest two-year decline in Massachusetts in at least twenty-five years.” [Massachusetts Budget And Policy Center, 9/3/06]

As a Result Of Poor Economic Factors, Massachusetts Had The 3rd Highest Rate Out-Migration Under Romney

Under Romney Massachusetts Had The 3rd Highest Rate Of Domestic Out-Migration And It Would Have Been Second If Not For Hurricane Katrina Displacing Louisiana Residents. According to the Boston Globe, “Between July 2002 and July 2006, the US Census Bureau estimated that 222,000 more residents left Massachusetts for other states than came here to live. This high level of net domestic out-migration was equivalent to 3.5 percent of the state’s population, the third highest rate of population loss in the country. Excluding the population displacement effects of Hurricane Katrina on Louisiana, Massachusetts would have ranked second highest on this measure. We were a national leader in exporting our population.” [Boston Globe, 7/29/07]

Under Romney Massachusetts Was A “National Leader” In The Rise Of Housing Prices Which Encouraged “High Levels Of Outmigration From The State Of Young Families With Children.” According to the Boston Globe, “There is one additional area in which Massachusetts was a national leader over the past five years, the rise in housing prices. Between 2000 and 2005, the median self-reported home price in Massachusetts increased by nearly 95 percent versus an increase of only 40 percent for the United States. The median home price ranked fourth highest among the 50 states, and the median value of homes relative to household income was the third highest in the country. The high affordability cost ratio encouraged the high levels of outmigration from the state of young families with children.” [Boston Globe, 7/29/07]

Under Romney Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Was Held Down Because Of The “High Levels Of Out-Migration Of Working Age Adults.” According to the Boston Globe, “We were one of only two states to have experienced no growth in its resident labor force. Again, without the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina on the dispersal of the Louisiana population, Massachusetts would have ranked last on this measure. The decline in the state’s labor force, which was influenced in large part by high levels of out-migration of working-age adults, helped hold down the official unemployment rate of the state.” [Boston Globe, 7/29/07]