Texas job creation dwarfs every other state

By Jenifer Rubin, Washington Post

JObsMark Perry at the American Enterprise Institute writes:

Since December 2007 when the Great Recession started, Texas civilian employment has increased by 12% and by more than 1.32 million jobs, from just over 11 million jobs in December 2007 to 12.32 million in September of this year (see blue line in chart). In contrast, civilian employment in the other 49 states without Texas is still 0.73% and almost one million jobs below the December 2007 level (see red line in chart) – 134.27 million non-Texas jobs in September vs. 135.26 million in December 2007. . . .

In another job-related milestone for Texas, the BLS reported today that annual payroll employment in Texas increased in September by more than 400,000 jobs from a year ago for the second straight month, and established a new all-time state record for job growth over a 12-month period with a 413,700 gain from September 2013. Over the last year, Texas has added almost 1,600 new jobs every business day – a hiring rate of almost 200 jobs every hour! Also, Texas’s annual job gain of 413,700 through September represented 15.7% of the country’s 2.635 million increase in nonfarm payroll employment over that period, even though Texas’s population is only 8.4% of the US total. In percentage terms, Texas payrolls increased by 3.7% over the last 12 months, almost double the 1.9% growth in US payroll employment.

What is more remarkable is that this is not limited to the energy sector. If you look at the Texas Workforce statistics, over the last year jobs grew in every single category (construction, financial services, leisure and hospitality, etc.). To the extent critics claim that while not the only source of job growth, the energy sector is the engine that drives the other, isn’t this an argument for developing energy resources in as many states as possible?

Another policy point worth noting: Texas has a full 16 percent of the illegal immigrants entering the country, second only to California (25 percent). That amounts to more than 1.8 million people. This is not to argue that all states should want illegal immigration, but it certainly is the case that huge numbers of illegal immigrants do not inhibit job growth if the other policies and conditions are right. (California’s unemployment rate is currently 7.3 percent.)

There is obviously no one factor that is responsible for the job boom. You can attribute some to the low taxes and modest regulations maintained over a significant period of time. You could look at Gov. Rick Perry’s success in luring businesses from business-unfriendly states. You could note that Texas is a right-to-work state in which workers cannot be forced to join a union. What is clear is that people vote with their feet — some 61 percent of Texans were born there:

The Texas-born population is itself booming, and additionally there is migration from all over the nation and a steady rise in an already large immigrant population. The net impact is that fewer Texas residents are natives than in the past.

Because of huge in-migration, the percentage of state residents native to the state has fallen. But Texas has always retained a high percentage of its natives, and since 2000 has had the highest retention rate in the country. There are still half a million Texans in California, but that’s down sharply from past years and represents just 3 percent of the Texas-born population.

It stands to reason then that if you want higher job growth, you want to be more like Texas than California. There are many measures of economic and social health, but for a country that is struggling to jump-start job creation, it might be a good idea to look carefully at the success stories.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.

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