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Should Perry get credit for Texas economy?

By Laylan Copelin


Updated: 11:15 p.m. Saturday, July 16, 2011

Published: 10:59 p.m. Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lured to Texas by reports of a resurging economy, law school graduate Ross Fishbein packed his belongings in his 2007 Nissan Sentra last month and headed south from his native New Hampshire to Austin.

"I had never been to Texas," said Fishbein, 27, who is staying with friends while he looks for work in business, government or law. "It seemed like Austin was at the top of the list for jobs."

Fishbein is not alone. People moving to Texas accounted for almost half of the 4.2 million new Texans since 2000, a 20 percent increase that means more people are demanding more goods and services, a kind of self-generating economic engine. And that influx is not just people working in low-skilled jobs. Texas is attracting more college graduates each year than the state's universities graduate.

As Gov. Rick Perry's flirtation with running for president puts the Texas economy under a microscope, there's no question jobs would be Perry's calling card in a national campaign focused on the economy. The state's longest-serving governor can say people are voting with their feet. But what do people like Fishbein find once they are here? And how much credit can Perry take for the state's economy?