USC students should not look for jobs in Texas, experts say

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.

Job hunt · Robert Scheer, Narda Zacchino and Geoffrey Cowan (left to right) discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the Texas and California economies Tuesday. - Engie Salama | Daily Trojan

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.”

3 replies
  1. Josephine
    Josephine says:

    This is an example of very poor headline writing. The article does not indicate that USC students should not look for jobs in Texas; it only says they should not believe everything they have read about how great the Texas economy is. More USC students come from Texas than any state other than California and only an idiot would tell USC students who need a job not to look for work in Texas. Obviously if you need a job and Texas is your home, or you have family or other strong connections there, you should definitely look for work in Texas. Moreover, if you need a job, it would be insane to rule out any state, but particularly Texas, which is the site of the headquarters of more Fortune 500 companies than any other state. If you have an engineering or computer science degree, you will probably find a job immediately in Texas. If you have a business degree, there is a very good chance you will find a great job here. There are also many good jobs in Texas for communications majors. Furthermore, it takes an average of 2 weeks, not 2 to 4 months, to open a business in Texas. All most businesses need to do is file incorporation papers, obtain an account number (from the Texas Workforce Commission) to pay a very small unemployment tax, obtain workers compensation insurance (which is optional but strong advised), and, if applicable, obtain a sales tax permit. The reason Texas has a disproportionate number of people who live in poverty and/or don’t have health insurance is because Texas, which is the state with the longest border with Mexico, has a disproporportionate number of illegal aliens. I agree that California is a great place to live but if you can’t find a job there, please don’t rule out Texas, a friendly place where newcomers are always welcome and there will always be jobs for graduates of top schools like USC.

  2. Joseph Vranich
    Joseph Vranich says:

    Misleading article in part because it’s based on old data. I have helped software, manufacturing and professional corporations move from California to Texas with staff salaries ranging from $50K to $120K, and employees get to keep more of it because Texas has no income tax. Austin is the single most attractive location anywhere in the U.S. to which California companies relocate, and next year about 2,000 well-paying jobs will move from California to Plano, Dallas and San Antonio. As an aside, as far as comparing the educational systems, note that one in five California high-school students will not graduate. (I had trouble believing this but have since confirmed it’s true.) In my business, I see California companies considering or actually planning moves to Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania. As a Californian who loves where I live, it’s my sad conclusion that this state is in big trouble with future liabilities that exceed that of other states including Texas. Horace Greeley supposedly said, “Go West!” The Census data shows a lot of Californians going East. — Joe Vranich, The Business Relocation Coach, Irvine, Calif.

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