This is "economy week" in the Schwarzenegger administration, as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is staging a series of events around the state designed to call attention to the job growth that has taken place under his watch. Interestingly, his political campaign has launched a TV commercial, being shown in markets that track the governor's personal appearance schedule, also touting economic growth. Press Secretary Margita Thompson, at her weekly briefing this morning with Capitol bureau reporters, insisted there was no political coordination.
The campaign of Treasurer Phil Angelides was quick to distribute an e-mail to political reporters quoting Schwarzenegger from his own 2005 State of the State address: "If a politician tries to take credit for job growth, don't believe it. Ladies and gentlemen, I did not create this record number of jobs.â€?
No one can blame any governor for bragging about good things that happen while he or she is in office, but a little perspective is in order. As much as Californians like to say their state, if it were a nation, would make up the 5th or 6th largest economy in the world, the fact is that the California economy is very much intertwined with the U.S. economy. Both, after all, use the same currency and tap largely the same markets.
So, some perspective, based on figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Between January 2004 and January 2006, roughly tracking Schwarzenegger's term in office, the size of California's civilian labor force has grown by 1.58 percent. During that same time, New York's also grew by 1.58 percent, Texas' by 3.2 percent, Arizona's by 5.8 percent and Florida's by 5.9 percent.
The U.S. economy is doing well all over. The argument for cause and effect is very difficult for any governor to make.