Poli­tiFact

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - Con­tact W. Gard­ner Selby at 512-445-3644. Twit­ter: @gard­nerselby @ poli­ti­fact­texas

farm jobs when Abbott took of­fice in Jan­uary 2015. As of June 2017, that count was up by about 507,500, ex­ceed­ing 12.3 mil­lion.

We de­cided to check whether more Texas res­i­dents have jobs than ever be­fore. Econ­o­mists con­curred that, ac­cord­ing to Bureau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics fig­ures draw­ing on U.S. cen­sus sur­veys, more than 12.8 mil­lion Texas res­i­dents had jobs from April through June 2017 — with the April 2017 count of 12,872,506 em­ployed peo­ple set­ting a record. That tally slid marginally in the months since, reach­ing 12,848,980 in June.

The econ­o­mists we queried noted that be­cause Texas con­tin­ues to grow in pop­u­la­tion, it makes sense that, bar­ring eco­nomic dis­as­ter, you’d see more peo­ple hav­ing jobs year after year.

“Sta­tus quo in Texas,” Mark J. Perry, a Univer­sity of Michi­gan-Flint econ­o­mist, told us. “It’s al­ways had steady job growth.”

Perry passed along a chart show­ing the nearly uni­form an­nual upticks in em­ployed Tex­ans since 1939.

So, Abbott was mostly right about the record count of Tex­ans with jobs.

Other in­di­ca­tors pro­vide con­text, how­ever.

The month be­fore Abbott kicked off his re-elec­tion ef­fort, the state’s un­em­ploy­ment rate of 4.6 per­cent wasn’t a record low. We counted 59 months since 1976 when the Texas jobless rate was lower.

Also, a ra­tio that com­pares the num­ber of peo­ple with jobs to the pop­u­la­tion as a whole was higher for Texas and other states in the 1990s.

Econ­o­mist Tara Sin­clair, a Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor, drew on Bureau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics fig­ures show­ing that the state’s em­ploy­ment-pop­u­la­tion ra­tio ex­ceeded 65 per­cent from 1995 through 2000 but fell to 61.5 per­cent in 2014 and 60.7 per­cent in 2016.

Our rul­ing

Abbott said: “More Tex­ans have jobs today than ever be­fore in the his­tory of our state.”

By raw num­bers, the more than 12.87 mil­lion em­ployed Tex­ans in April set a record, though that count has dipped a bit since. But Texas has had a lower un­em­ploy­ment rate and a bet­ter em­ploy­ment-pop­u­la­tion ra­tio in years past.

We rate this claim Mostly True.

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