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.
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.