Though it is harder to find jobs in California, they are of a better quality, said experts from the Annenberg School’s Center on Communication Leadership and Policy on Wednesday.
Some students are planning to move to Texas, which Gov. Rick Perry claims has a better economy and job market, because they believe California’s economy doesn’t have a place for them.
Panel speakers CCLP Senior Fellow Narda Zacchino and Annenberg Professor and Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer said there were misconceptions about the economies of California and Texas at the “White House 2012: Politics, Media and Technology” discussion series, moderated by Geoffrey Cowan, who holds the Annenberg Family Chair in Communication Leadership.
Zacchino said the emergence of Texas Gov. Rick Perry as a GOP front-runner has increased the number of comparisons between the California and Texas economies. He said a surface analysis renders inaccurate conclusions.
“Texas, with its lower unemployment rate and job growth, appears to be in better economic shape,” Zacchino said. “A closer examination of the facts renders a mixed verdict on the success and failings of both states.”
Some students assume it will be easier to find a job in Texas because the unemployment rate is 12 percent in California and only 8.4 percent in Texas. Zacchino said this falsely attracts those searching for jobs.
“They don’t look at this in context and they don’t dig down deep enough,” Zacchino said.
Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured children and residents without health insurance of any state. Zacchino said 17.2 percent of the population lives in poverty, the fourth highest percentage in the country. Texas also has the lowest percentage of people with a high school diploma.
Zacchino said California’s economic clout shouldn’t be discounted, either.
If California were a nation, it would have the eighth largest gross domestic product in the world at $1.89 trillion, between Italy and Brazil, according to EconPost. If Texas were a country, it would rank 15th, between Russia and Australia, with a GDP of $1.14 trillion.
Sheer said the cost of business might be too high in California, which ranked last in a survey conducted by CNBC, but California ranked first in technology and innovation and access to capital.
“The critical thing is what kind of job you are looking for,” Sheer said. “The jobs that have been created in Texas are largely in minimum wage or below minimum wage. Can you support a family? Can you lift them out of poverty? No. Texas does not provide a model. California gives a better education system and [venture capital] business. What really is at issue right now is the American dream, and the American dream is based off of good jobs.”
Maile Miller, who graduated in 2007 with a degree in international relations and Spanish, moved from California to Texas to find a job. She currently holds three part-time positions and is applying for full-time work.
“Everyone kept telling me about the Texas economy,” Miller said. “The job search isn’t easy. I kept applying and interviewing and it just didn’t work out, so well, let me try some place new or come back if the economy is better.”
Zacchino said there are some benefits in moving to Texas. Many businesses and business students move to Texas because there is no income tax, no corporate tax on capital gains and less regulation than in California.
Zacchino said it takes longer to get permits for businesses in California than in Texas. Though it might take two to three years to open a business in California, it takes only two to four months in Texas.
Addison McCaleb, a senior majoring in film and television production, said he founded his production company in Texas because it was easier to file paperwork there, even though much of his business is done in California.
“California just has terrible regulations and requires employee benefits that would wipe out a small business, but California has the network I need to make my company successful,” McCaleb said. “The way my company works, it doesn’t matter where my headquarters is, so we have our main office in Texas.”