(City Journal) — The American economy has had little to cheer about since the 2008 financial meltdown and the resulting recession. Recovery has been feeble, and many states continue to struggle. One bright spot in the general gloom, however, is Texas, which began shining long before 2008. Not only has Texas created jobs at a stunning rate; it has also—pace critics like the New York Times’s Paul Krugman—created lots of good jobs. Indeed, the rest of the nation could turn to the Lone Star State as a model for dynamic growth, as a close look at employment data shows.
The first thing to point out is that Texan job creation has far outpaced the national average. The number of jobs in Texas has grown by a truly impressive 31.5 percent since 1995, compared with just 12 percent nationwide, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data (see Figure One). Texas has also lapped California, an important economic rival and the only state with a larger population. The Texas employment situation after the financial crisis was far less spectacular, of course, with the number of jobs growing just 2.4 percent from 2009 through 2011. But that was still six times the anemic 0.4 percent growth rate of the overall American economy.