The Rick Perry elevator pitch is that Texas has led the nation in aggregate job growth, which is true. But it’s unemployment performance has been just average. So as Matt Yglesias points out, this is to say that the Texas “jobs miracle” is really a Texas population growth miracle. This is a real enough phenomenon, lots of people have been moving to Texas from both Mexico and the non-Texas parts of the United States of America.
The question to answer about this is what Perry administration initiatives are we supposed to attribute this to. Texas’ high growth rate relative to the rest of the country is a longstanding phenomenon. Indeed, the gap was much larger in the 1980s. It appears to be related to Texas’ low pre-existing population density, natural resource wealth, proximity to Mexico, and warm weather combined by the high price of housing on the coasts. There’s an interesting story here to be told here, but it’s not super clear what the implications are for national policy. Does Perry plan on drastically increasing the volume of legal immigration to the United States in order to replicate the Texas population boom?