The short recession of 2001 had a lot of regional variation in its impact on the American economy. Northern manufacturing centers were hit very hard, and so was the high-tech sector. This combination made it a very nasty recession for Massachusetts which, broadly speaking, is why 46 states saw more rapid job growth during Mitt Romney’s governorship than did the Bay State.
The Romney campaign’s counter to this point is largely to quibble about the baseline, but as you can see above quite clearly by comparing nationwide employment growth to Massachusetts employment growth and indexing them to the start of Romney’s term the state did consistently poorly.
In Romney’s defense, one can say it’s not at all clear that this is even remotely Romney’s fault. That said, I was living in Massachusetts during the 2002 campaign and it’s definitely the case that he ran around the state promising to jumpstart job creation. I didn’t believe him at the time, but voted for him anyway since I preferred his approach to education and thought he’d be fine on other fronts. In retrospect, I’d say that by shepherding a universal health care bill into law he exceeded my expectations. But he definitely didn’t deliver on the theory that his business background gave him some magical insight into super-charging employment growth and I think it’s very important to point this out as he launches another campaign based on the idea that his business background gives him magical insight into super-charging employment growth.