Rick Perry's Texas: Dissecting Governor's Touted Jobs 'Machine'

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One million.

That's the number driving Rick Perry to the national stage.

In his 10 years as governor, Perry has created 1 million new jobs in the Lone Star state, 40 percent of all jobs created in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Texas added more than 250,000 jobs from January 2010 to January 2011, more than all other states combined.

Perry's "Texas Miracle" is apparently a jobs machine.

"Jobs bring security," he said in an Aug. 10 speech. "They bring pride. They bring opportunity."

More Than 400 Miles Through Texas

Traveling more than 400 miles through the heart of Texas, one will find that an oil boom and natural gas exploration have created a new class of millionaires out of random landowners in places such as Cotulla.

"The past year has been unbelievable," said landowner Bill Cotulla, whose property will soon be home to six new oil wells. "It's gone from a sleepy town to busy intersections."

The town was named after his great-grandfather, who settled there after the Civil War. "We even need more traffic lights," he said.

Outside San Antonio, there is more traditional job creation as Toyota builds Tacoma and Tundra pickups. The absence of unions in Texas and no state income taxes have made the state an attractive environment for new businesses. Toyota employs more than 4,000.

Nearby, Bill Cox is desperate to hire three more workers at his small manufacturing company.

"They're full-time jobs with overtime and growth and we start them at $11 [an hour] and they're going to get a raise in 90 days max if they show up on time and apply themselves and are learning," Cox told ABC News.

New businesses and old ones, such as the 120-year-old Dr Pepper bottler in Dublin, are thriving.

"I think this country is built on entrepreneurs," bottler owner Bill Kloster said. "Texas has a reputation for individualism and taking care of yourself."

Rick Perry's Texas: Another Side to Jobs Story

But there is another side to that Texas spirit and it includes statistics that Perry is less likely to tout on the campaign trail: His state leads the country in low-wage jobs.

"There are a lot of people living in very dire straits," Texas Monthly senior editor Paul Burka, who has covered state politics for 30 years, said. "We have the highest percentage of people without health insurance. We do very little to support people who aren't making it."

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured workers in the country at 27.4 percent, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota.

The Perry era has meant a jump in working poor. Almost 10 percent of the employed make the minimum wage, compared with 6 percent nationwide, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With a poverty rate of 17 percent, Texas is among the 10 poorest states in the United States, according to 2010 Census data. Although the $4 billion in spending cuts in education helped balance the budget, the state already leads America in dropouts. And the divide between the rich and poor is the fourth widest in the country.

"The people who consider themselves moderates or liberals have been waiting in vain for years for the public to start marching on the capital to demand a better environment, better schools," Burka said. "They're going to be waiting a long time. That's not Texas."