AUSTIN – The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released state-level labor market data for November 2014. The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Fiscal Policy Economist Dr. Vance Ginn issued the following statement:
“When it comes to providing economic opportunity, Texas continues to set records. Last month the state set the fourth consecutive monthly record of annual job growth with a remarkable 441,200 total net nonfarm jobs added. These jobs added were almost 100,000 more than those added in second place California. Texas private sector employers created an impressive 409,700 net jobs alone.
“This record-setting pace of job creation helped lower the state’s unemployment rate to 4.9 percent, which is now 95 consecutive months at or below the national average. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas recently noted that more than 60 percent of all jobs added since 2000 were in the highest two wage quartiles. Jobs are plentiful and well-paying in Texas.
“In spite of a 45 percent decline in oil prices since July, Texas added 34,800 net nonfarm jobs in November. Texas is a highly diversified state that’s more resilient to oil price shocks than in the 1980s. In the 1980s, oil and gas activity was more than 20 percent of the state’s economy, but today it’s less than 15 percent. In addition, oil and gas jobs are only 2.6 percent of total nonfarm employment. The lower oil prices have led to cheaper gasoline prices translating into a cut in expenses for Texas families just in time for Christmas.
“Though Texas has seen good economic news, there are steps that the Texas Legislature could still take to further improve the economy, and insulate it from events. These steps include reducing the footprint of government by eliminating the margin tax, effectively limiting state spending, and creating a mechanism to slow state spending while temporarily cutting the state’s sales tax rate. By putting more power and money in the hands of Texans, the economic foundation that makes Texas prosperous for the neediest among us will be fruitful for everyone far into the future. This is something we can be thankful for in this season of good cheer.”
Vance Ginn, Ph.D. is an Economist in the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin, Texas.