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Texas’ unemployment rate spikes

Texas unemployment rate hits its highest mark since 1987. That’s probably not the kind of headline Rick Perry wants to read right now.

As Gov. Rick Perry touts job creation and limited government on the campaign trail, the Texas’ unemployment rate tied a 1987 record in July and the Austin-area took the brunt of the state’s job losses in the public sector.

The Texas Workforce Commission on Friday termed the employment results “mixed” because the state added 29,300 jobs but the seasonally adjusted jobless rate increased from 8.2 percent in June to 8.4 percent last month.

Having the state tie a 24-year high for unemployment rate could be coming at just the wrong time for Perry. Perry has long called Texas a national jobs-creation leader in a country besieged by unemployment. He traveled through Iowa this week on a bus with “get America working again” painted on the side.

The latest unemployment numbers could weaken that message. The rate hasn’t been this high since the mid-1980s oil bust. And even though Texas has received numerous accolades for creating more jobs in recent years than any other state, 26 states had a lower unemployment rate in July.

In other words, Texas’ unemployment rate is slightly worse than the median, and is now only 0.7 points better than the national rate. What a miracle!

There’s more from the Chron and the Trib. I have often complained in this space about how a writer from some national media outlet will do a story about Texas that gets things fundamentally wrong, but so far it’s a non-Texan who has made a critical point about these figures that has been unmentioned by the locals. As Jared Bernstein has pointed out, an awful lot of Texas’ job growth in recent years has come from the govern sector. As quite a few of those jobs were in public education, the stimulus played a large role as well. We are of course now seeing many of these jobs get lost, thanks for the most part to the state’s budget cuts. Growth elsewhere is thankfully enough to offset that, and since many school districts had been prepared for even worse cuts than what they ultimately got, fewer education jobs than originally anticipated will be lost. The point is that Texas’ job picture is much better than it otherwise would have been in the past thanks to government hiring, and it will not be as good as it could be in the future thanks to government firings. You can’t talk about Rick Perry and jobs without talking about that if you want to tell the whole story.

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7 Comments

  1. […] There and Back Again, A Jobless Tale The Texas Unemployment Rate hits a 24-year high, reaching all the way back to the oil troubles of the 1980’s. The rest of Middle-Earth’s problems have indeed hit the Shire. Visit OfftheKuff for more on this story. […]

  2. 'stina says:

    The fiscal year starts in a week and a half. I wonder how many more jobs will be lost when the various budget cuts across the state are enacted.

  3. […] Perry, Perry on the Wall, What’s the Story We’ll Tell Them All The Ricky Perry train is rolling. There’s no stopping it now. You may as well jump out of the way or hop on board. With the unemployment rate spiking in Texas, there may be a few thousand more hobos ready to hitch a ride to anywhere but here. What’s the story we’re going to tell the nation, Guv? Visit OffTheKuff for more on this story. […]

  4. […] the Kuff notes that Texas’ unemployment rate is at its highest level since the days of the oil bust. Maybe firing thousands of teachers and other public employees […]

  5. […] the Kuff notes that Texas’ unemployment rate is at its highest level since the days of the oil bust. Maybe firing thousands of teachers and other public employees […]

  6. […] the Kuff notes that Texas’ unemployment rate is at its highest level since the days of the oil bust. Maybe firing thousands of teachers and other public employees […]

  7. […] I had previously complained about a lack of acknowledgement by Texas writers about the role that growth in the public sector has […]