There's a new kid on the Texas Political Bloggers block, a joint effort from Austin called the Burnt Orange Report. They have a post about Texas's depressing unemployment rate, currently at 6.5%, or 6.7% if you adjust for the season. Austin itself is doing better, but the tech industry is still on its knees and average wages dropped by $24 per week between Q1 2001 and Q1 2002.
Over here in Houston, our famed optimism is taking it on the chin from the recent hard times:
A quarter of those interviewed named the economy and poverty as the greatest problems facing Houston-area residents, compared to 8 percent who chose these issues three years ago. And just 39 percent this year rated local job prospects as excellent or good -- a sharp decline from last year's 52 percent and the lowest figure since 27 percent provided this assessment in 1993.
"This year, it seems clear that the generalized optimism about the future -- so typical of Houstonians -- is now also being affected by the deepening insecurities" about the economy, said Stephen Klineberg, the Rice University sociology professor who has directed the annual survey since 1982.
He said this year's findings suggest that growing economic worries may no longer be merely short-term concerns.
For example, the proportion who said the United States is headed for better times in the next few years dropped from 44 percent in 2002 to 37 percent this year. And on a question that Klineberg said taps into "the vaunted Houston ideology" and its "can-do spirit," 82 percent agreed that Houstonians who work hard eventually will succeed. Last year, 88 percent agreed with this premise.