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Bad News, Good News

Texas has obviously not been immune from the effects of the global recession — brought on in no small part by the sheer fiscal irresponsibility of Congress. But as Ray Perryman, the Waco economist noted recently, Texas is the “last in, first out” of the recession. Pretty good place to be in general, as Fortune, Forbes, the Economist and the Wall Street Journal all keep reporting. But that doesn’t mean it’s great for everyone, which is the bad news.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the state’s unemployment rate is now at 8.3% (which means a 91.7% employment rate), up from 8% last month. That is well below the national average of 10%. And it is much lower than the other “big” states. California is now at 12.4% (steady), New York 9% (up .4%), and Florida 11.7% (up .3%).

Here’s how Dr. Perryman described it to the Associated Press:

As a measure of Texas faring better than most states, Perryman pointed to the 300,000 job losses. Although a large number, it represented about 4 percent of the losses nationally in a state that accounts for about 8 percent of the U.S. economy, he said. Using that formula, Texas had about half the job losses that might be expected.

One of the strongest signs of a recovering economy, Perryman said, is Texas enjoying job gains the past two months and three of the past six. He and other economists say that trend will continue, but at a modest rate. Analysts say the same thing about other sectors of the Texas economy.

So while there have been job losses, Perryman argues there have been fewer than would be expected. Similarly, even as there have been job losses, there is still strong job gains.

And despite the claims of some, companies and entrepreneurs really are moving to Texas, and doing so because the state really is a better place to do business than almost anywhere else.

What the numbers clearly indicate is that while the national economy is pulling Texas down with it, the attitudes of Texans, our long-standing entrepreneurial climate, and the policies enacted over the last decade, still make the state more buoyant than the rest of the country.

As the recession’s grip loosens, one can reasonably expect the Lone Star State will spring ahead better and faster than the rest of the nation. And that’s great news for all Texans.

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Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael is the CEO of Empower Texans. A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Sullivan is married with three children. He divides his time between the Metroplex, the rest of Texas, and Austin.

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