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August 2013 - Volume 21, Number 3


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Red States Raid Blue States for Jobs:
It’s a Texas Two-Step Versus an Illinois Slow Waltz

by Dr. Ernie Goss
Creighton University

Economic Recovery Stronger in Red States

Governor Rick Perry of Red-State Texas, took a June Blue-State tour visiting New York and Connecticut, courting and wooing companies in an area of the country that hasn’t voted Republican in a national election in the last two decades. Are the economic stars dancing the Texas two-step or the New York Lindy Hop?


Have Red States, those that voted Republican in every presidential election for the past two decades, economically out-performed Democrat-voting Blue States, as well as Purple States that divided their electoral votes between Democrats and Republicans, in the same time period?


Do Red States, which are viewed as more pro-business and tax friendly, experience superior economic performance compared to Blue States, which are seen as more pro-government and tax burdensome?


From the beginning of the economic recovery in the third quarter of 2009 through the first quarter of 2013, personal income growth was 14.6 percent for Blue States, 14.9 percent for Purple States, and 17.3 percent for Red States.


Furthermore, May 2013 Red-State unemployment rates were a full one percentage point lower than Blue-State jobless rates, and one-half of one percentage point lower than the rate of joblessness among Purple States.


Since July 2009, employment has grown by 1.7 percent in Red States, a much slower 1.3 percent in Purple States, and an anemic 1.1 percent in Blue States.


Thus, approximately 500,000 jobs shifted from Blue and Purple States to Red States during the recovery.


Data like this are apt to encourage Red-State Governors to mimic Governor Perry’s efforts and recruit workers and companies from Blue States like Illinois, with its slow-waltzing economy.


Dr. Ernie Goss, Ph.D., is the MacAllister Chair, Creighton University. Originally published in The Mainstreet Economy Report, July 13, 2013, <> accessed on July 18, 2013. Reprinted with the author’s permission. Details of the analysis may be found at <>.

IOWA ECONOMIC SCORECARD is our quarterly economic forecast, arriving in February, May, August,
and November. It consists of statistics about and analysis of the Iowa economy.


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