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Dems say under Gov. Mitt Romney, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in job creation

The statement

When Mitt Romney was governor, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in job creation.

David Axelrod, in a CNN interview Sunday

The ruling

Axelrod, President Barack Obama's re-election campaign strategist, tried to ding the job-creating reputation of Romney during a recent CNN interview.

"If you're Gov. Romney and you say I'm going to turn this economy around, I've got the answers. You don't offer them. Then people have a right to say, why is it that your state was 47th in the country in job creation when you were governor?" Axelrod said.

We asked the Democratic National Committee for backup on the statistic, and they pointed us first to a 2010 story on the Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch website.

The story looked at statistics from January 2003, when Romney took office, to January 2007, when he left, and reported that during that time, according to the U.S. Labor Department, the state ranked 47th in jobs growth.

The only ones that did worse? Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. In other words, two rustbelt states and another that got pounded by a hurricane.

At our request, the taxpayer-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which does nonpartisan analysis of the state's financial and economic statistics, ran some numbers as well. They got the same ranking.

"Jobs grew, but they grew at an anemic rate compared to the rest of the country," said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

Widmer warned, however, not to put too much stock in any governors' influence over a states' rate of job growth, or decline.

"Governors and presidents generally get way too much credit and blame for job creation or losses," added Jeffrey Miron, director of undergraduate studies at the Harvard University Department of Economics.

As with many of the claims we check, there are two elements to Axelrod's claim. He is 1) saying that Massachusetts ranked 47th in job growth and 2) suggesting that Romney is to blame.

We find he is right about the numbers. But we found little evidence to support the other part of Axelrod's claim, that Romney is responsible for those jobs numbers. Economists say it's a stretch to blame or credit any governor for job numbers. Overall, we find Axelrod's claim Half True.

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Dems say under Gov. Mitt Romney, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in job creation 06/23/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 23, 2011 9:46pm]
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