Just so there is no mistake here: I didn’t like Mitt Romney when he was Governor of Massachusetts. First, he got the Republican nomination by elbowing out a perfectly good candidate, Acting Governor Jane Swift. Second, he spent most of his time here not being Governor, but running for President. Third, getting universal health care was a great achievement showing the country that it can be done, but Mitt wants to forget it ever happened. Kinda like throwing out your only child with the bath water. But now Mitt is running again as a jobs creator because only Republicans can create jobs.
Last night Rachel Maddow reminded us of a little fact about Mitt Romney’s job creation: He didn’t create very many.
What Romney leaves out of his stump speech, however, is just how bad his state’s job creation statistics were during his four years as governor. Different job creation studies rank Massachusetts in the bottom four states during Romney’s administration. A study by the independent think tank MassINC ranked the state 49th in job creation from 2001-2007, ahead of only Michigan. And according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Massachusetts ranked 47th, ahead of only Michigan, Ohio, and Louisiana. Michigan and Ohio, both located in the Rust Belt, faced heavy job losses due to the flight of manufacturing jobs from the Midwest. Louisiana, meanwhile, lost hundreds of thousands of jobs in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
During Romney’s period as governor, Massachusetts’ job growth was just 0.9 percent, well behind other high-wage, high-skill economies in New York (2.7), California (4.7), and North Carolina (7.6). The national average, meanwhile, was better than 5 percent.
So who does Mitt blame for this poor performance? The Democrats in the legislature.
Romney blames the poor job numbers on Democrats in the Massachusetts state legislature. But since its economy faltered in 2008 and 2009, Massachusetts has rebounded in the job creation ranks, emerging from the recession with some of the nation’s strongest job numbers. Under current Gov. Deval Patrick (D) — and a legislature still controlled by Democrats — the state experienced 4.2 percent job growth in the first quarter of 2011, better than twice the national average and good enough to rank in the top 10 nationally. That followed a year of solid growth in 2010, when Massachusetts was among the nation’s leaders in job growth.
Mitt, you might have to find something else to run on.