Texas Economy and Workforce Report

On a related note, the Center for Public Policy Priorities released Monday its annual look at the Texas economy and workforce and found both good news and bad. On the upside, the state's unemployment numbers have been declining steadily, from 5.4% in 2005 to 4.8% in 2006. Austin, at 3.8% unemployment, is surpassed only by oil-booming Midland, whose unemployment is 3.7%. And, as a result, the number of Texans working for poverty wages ($9.91/hour or less) dropped from 32% in 2005 to 30.1% in 2006. But Texas wages do lag behind the rest of the country. In 2006, the median hourly wage here was $13 an hour, compared to $14.81 nationally. Texas also remains one of the poorest states, with 16% living below the poverty level, and has the largest number of high school dropouts in the country, with 20% of adults lacking a high school diploma. In other words, it's going to take more than a few good years for Texas to catch up with the rest of the country.

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