Texas bucks national unemployment trend
By Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
Finding work may not be quite that simple, but it sure seems that way. While the nation’s job growth has limped along since the economic recovery began two years ago, the Lone Star State is enlarging payrolls in Texas-size fashion.
From June 2009 to June 2011 the state added 262,000 jobs, or half the USA’s 524,000 payroll gains, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even by a more conservative estimate that omits states with net job losses, Texas’ advances make up 30% of the 1 million additions in the 34 states with net growth.
The state’s payrolls have risen 2.9% since the end of the recession, third behind North Dakota and Alaska and far outpacing the USA’s 0.4% growth, according to the BLS. Also, Texas’ 8.2% unemployment rate is well below the nation’s 9.2%.
“For one large state to grow (jobs) so much faster than the rest of the nation is very unusual,” says Moody’s economist Ed Friedman.
Economists point to an array of factors, including high energy prices that set off an oil-drilling frenzy, rising exports and a conservative banking industry that helped the state sidestep the housing crash.