Unemployment up in Texas

Not the kind of story Rick Perry wants to see with an election coming up.

The state’s economic recovery hit a snag in December, as employers cut 23,900 jobs after expanding payrolls in October and November.

The Texas unemployment rate climbed to 8.3 percent in December from 8 percent the month before, the Texas Workforce Commission said Friday.


Despite last month’s stumble, analysts said they still expect Texas employers to create jobs this year as the state recovers from the recession. Mine Yücel, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said Texas is likely to add 100,000 to 150,000 jobs this year.

But the comeback is apt to be modest and uneven.

“This is not going to be a quick bounce-back,” Yücel said, discussing the employment figures released Friday. “It’s going to be a slow slog.”

Payroll employment fell by 276,000 jobs last year, according to preliminary data released Friday. That figure will be updated in March based on unemployment insurance records provided by employers, a process called benchmarking.

According to the Dallas Fed, which has performed its own benchmarking on Texas jobs data through mid-2009, the state lost nearly 335,000 jobs last year.

Things are bad all over, and Texas is still better off than most states. But for all the boasting Perry has done about job creation in Texas – some of which is just flat-out lying, by the way – he’s talking about 2008, not 2009. And while he may talk about jobs being created in 2010, as you can see it won’t make up the difference even before we adjust for increases in the state’s population. Look for some new talking points soon.

On the bright side, things are getting better in Houston.

Houston area employers added 2,700 jobs in December, the fourth consecutive month of over-the-month job gains, the Texas Workforce Commission reported today.

In another sign the Houston economy may be stabilizing, fewer Houston area residents filed initial claims for unemployment in December.

Last month, 22,283 local residents filed for benefits, the lowest number for any month in 2009, said Joel Wagher, labor market analyst for Workforce Solutions, which manages employment services and training for the area.


While December’s data hints at better times, the year-end picture isn’t as bright.

Houston area employers cut 92,500 jobs between December 2008 and December 2009, a 3.5 percent decline.

“That tells the story of the year,” said Barton Smith, director of the University of Houston’s Institute for Regional Forecasting. He referred to 2009 as a bleak year.

Of course, the better Houston does, the better the state overall will do. That’s probably not something Rick Perry wants people to think about too much, either.

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One Response to Unemployment up in Texas

  1. Pete Murphy says:

    Unemployment, both in the U.S. and the world as a whole, marches ever higher because the field of economics doesn’t account for the relationship between population density and per capita consumption.

    Following the beating the field of economics took over the seeming failure of Malthus’ theory about overpopulation, economists adamantly refuse to ever again consider the effects of population growth. If they did, they might come to understand that once an optimum population density is breached, further over-crowding begins to erode per capita consumption and, consequently, per capita employment.

    And these effects of an excessive population density are actually imported when a nation like the U.S. attempts to trade freely with other nations much more densely populated – nations like China, Japan, Germany, Korea and a host of others. The result is an automatic trade deficit and loss of jobs – tantamount to economic suicide.

    Using 2006 data, an in-depth analysis reveals that, of our top twenty per capita trade deficits in manufactured goods (the trade deficit divided by the population of the country in question), eighteen are with nations much more densely populated than our own. Even more revealing, if the nations of the world are divided equally around the median population density, the U.S. had a trade surplus in manufactured goods of $17 billion with the half of nations below the median population density. With the half above the median, we had a $480 billion deficit!

    If you‘re interested in learning more about this important new economic theory, then I invite you to visit my web site at http://PeteMurphy.wordpress.com.

    Pete Murphy
    Author, “Five Short Blasts”

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