NYT: Gov. Rick Perry of Texas claims that Texas has had faster job growth than the rest of the country. So have other Sunbelt states with conservative governments. The answer from the right is, of course, that it’s all about avoiding regulations that interfere with business and keeping taxes on rich people low, thereby encouraging job creators to do their thing.

It turns out, however, that wages in the places within the United States attracting the most migrants are typically lower than in the places those migrants come from, suggesting that the places Americans are leaving actually have higher productivity and more job opportunities than the places they’re going. The average job in greater Houston pays 12 percent less than the average job in greater New York; the average job in greater Atlanta pays 22 percent less.

So why are people moving to these relatively low-wage areas? Because living there is cheaper, basically because of housing. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, rents (including the equivalent rent involved in buying a house) in metropolitan New York are about 60 percent higher than in Houston, 70 percent higher than in Atlanta.

And this, in turn, means that the growth of the Sunbelt isn’t the kind of success story conservatives would have us believe.