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Much has been said about Romney’s record on creating jobs both as governor of the state of Massachusetts and while he was at Bain Capital. Just last week Romney said in one of his speeches:
“While I was governor of Massachusetts we took the unemployment rate from 5.7 percent down to 4.6 percent.”
But was this an accomplishment for which he deserves credit? He could make similar claims about job creation. But does he deserve credit for the jobs created in the state during that time? He seems to think he does. His supporters seem to think he does.
The factor that has not entered into the debates is that state employment and unemployment rates usually reflect what is going on at the national level. With that simple fact a better measure of the effectiveness of a sitting governor is how well the state fares as compared to the nation as a whole.
The graph as the right shows the unemployment rates for Massachusetts and for the nation during Romney’s term as governor. The two rates track very closely. During that period the rate in Massachusetts fell 1.1 percent as Romney has claimed. However the national unemployment rate 1.4 percent from 5.8 percent to 4.4 percent.
At the start of Romney’s term Massachusetts was doing better than the nation as a whole while at the end of his term the state was doing worst than the nation. This does not seem to something that he should be claiming as a great accomplishment without an explanation of why the state has fared worst than the nation.