From UNION LEADER:
THE JOBS DEBATE CONTINUES. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s campaign is not-so-subtly firing back at Mitt Romney in a continuation of a dispute that began earlier this week over Romney’s job creation record in Massachusetts.
Today, Huntsman’s spokesman is suggesting that there was a downside to the decline in the unemployment rate during the Romney years as governor of the Bay State: the out-migration of the state’s population to other states, including New Hampshire.
Huntsman’s campaign on Tuesday accused Romney of misrepresenting his record on jobs creation as governor, noting that Massachusetts ranked 47th in the nation in that category during the Romney years of 2003 to 2007.
The Romney campaign responded that in fact, Romney actually “created nearly 50,000 jobs” as governor.
The Romney camp also pointed to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures that the Massachusetts unemployment rate dropped from 5.6 percent to 4.7 percent while he was governor.
Huntsman critics have pointed out that during his tenure as governor, Utah’s unemployment rate went from 4.6 percent in December 2004 to 7.3 percent in July 2009.
Today, the Huntsman campaign indicated that the drop in the Massachusetts rate during Romney’s term may have been skewed by the fact during the same period of declining unemployment, the Massachusetts population also declined substantially.
The Los Angeles Times this week Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies found that population decline was a significant contributor to the declining unemployment rate.
In July 2007, the director of the Northeastern center, Andrew Sum, wrote in an op-ed in The Boston Globe that during the Romney years, “The decline in the state’s labor force, which was influenced in large part by high levels of out-migration of working-age adults, helped hold down the official unemployment rate of the state.”
Sum wrote, “Between July 2002 and July 2006, the US Census Bureau estimated that 222,000 more residents left Massachusetts for other states than came here to live. This high level of net domestic out-migration was equivalent to 3.5 percent of the state’s population, the third highest rate of population loss in the country.”
In a November 2007 report, Sum and others on his team wrote, “Following the end of the jobs and economic boom in early 2001, net domestic out-migration from Massachusetts increased steadily and substantially over the following five years before moderating slightly in 2006.
“Over the July 2000 to July 2006 period, 286,000 more persons left Massachusetts to move to other states than came here from other states, an extraordinarily high level of net domestic out-migration.”