The shining Texas jobs miracle that Gov. Rick Perry is touting on the presidential campaign trail may be dimming, according to statistics released today by the Texas Workforce Commission. Texas lost 1,300 jobs in August, marking the first month of employment decline in Texas in almost a year.
The unemployment rate also increased slightly to 8.5 percent in August, marking a new record for the highest unemployment rate in Texas in more than two decades. Texas' unemployment rate is still significantly lower than the national unemployment rate, now at 9.1 percent.
Perry has centered his presidential campaign on the consistency of Texas' job creation, but this month, the effects of sweeping budget cuts he approved in June seem to be showing up in the jobs numbers. All government sectors reported net job losses of 9,400 in August. Local governments were hit particularly hard, reporting 11,500 jobs lost.
“Texas continues to feel the pressures of a stagnant national economy,” said Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken in a press release. “Private sector gains were offset by government losses.”
Six out of the 11 major industries measured by the commission showed employment growth over the month. Education and health services added 9,600 jobs; professional and business services added 4,200 jobs; construction added 1,900 jobs.
Texas’ golden industry — oil and gas extraction — is also still pumping out employment opportunities, adding 4,700 jobs in August, an increase of 5.7 percent.