Rick Perry's Jobs Plan: An Energy Industry Wish List

Rick Perry is introduced before the start of a Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas. Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Rick Perry's jobs plan ain't too complex.

As the Texas governor outlines on page 12, it's got two parts:

  1. Increase American energy production...

  2. Create American jobs through increased domestic energy production. 

In case you missed that, Perry is going all in on the energy industry.

Perry claims that by rolling back environmental protections and by green-lighting energy exploration anywhere, anytime he can boost employment by 1.2 million jobs by 2020. 

Given the laser focus on this single industry you'd imagine Perry's jobs plan were a solution to rampant unemployment in the energy sector. But that's far from the case.

The jobless rate in the sector Perry is targeting — "mining, quarying, and oil and gas extraction" — has been below 6 percent for most of the year. In the private sector, its sunny jobs picture is rivaled only by finance, education and healthcare. 

In short, the domestic energy sector has already recovered. If Perry were serious about solving a problem — as opposed to rewarding the oil, gas and coal industries — he might target a segment of the workforce that's actually in pain. Say, the construction industry, where joblessness currently tops 13 percent.