Texas ranks high in economic health

With a 3.7% unemployment rate throughout the state, experts say Texas’ economy is flying high, largely due to its economic might.

According to a new study from WalletHub, Texas is the 12th best economy in the nation for 2019. The study cites the state’s overall economic activity and health, innovation and employment potential.

Tied for first in the nation on a per capita basis with five other states, Texas’ exporting might is largely due to fossil fuel exports. Texas shipped around $250 billion worth of goods around the world in 2017.

“There are several factors contributing to gross domestic product (GDP) growth,” said Wallethub Analyst Jill Gonzalez. “Some of these include low public debt, high exports and revenue generated both from private businesses as well as the labor force.”

The labor force in the Austin-metro area has experienced substantial growth as well. Locally, the metropolitan area is sitting at an unemployment rate under 3 percent, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

Texas added 28,900 jobs in April of this year alone, marking the 18th consecutive month of annual growth for total non-farm related employment.

Gonzalez said Texas’ relatively low tax rate and the state’s economy are recipes for startup business success.

“Our state’s ongoing success is linked to the innovative and competitiveness of employers in a range of industries providing Texans more opportunities to demonstrate their world-class skills,” said TWC Chair Ruth Hughs. “In fact, Chief Executive Magazine has named Texas the best state for business for the 15th year in a row.”

However, Texas can still improve on a number of key issues.

Gonzalez said Texas has the lowest percentage of residents with health insurance coverage and does not fare well in terms of educational attainment by immigrant workers.

If employers cannot provide insurance benefits to their employees, that can have a lasting effect on Texas children as well.

In August 2018, Wallethub ranked Texas 49th in the country for children with access to healthcare.

“Only 89.1 percent of Texas children aged 0-17 have health insurance,” Gonzalez said. “Yes, the lack of Medicaid expansion is the reason why so many children and adults are uninsured. Children from low-income families are especially affected by this. They are unable to access Medicaid and can’t afford other health insurance.”

Despite highest number of uninsured individuals in the country, the Texas economy continues to add jobs. Experts hope this could help solve the uninsured problem through employment.

Private sector employers added 283,000 jobs over the year, according to the TWC. Additionally, professional and business services led all major industries over the month, adding 8400 jobs.

Construction added 5,800 jobs while education and health services employment grew by 4,300 workers.

“As the Texas labor force reaches a historic number, TWC and our 28 local workforce boards are as committed as ever to connecting Texas workers with available jobs,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “Through career and technical education and training incentives Texas can continue to produce the country’s most skilled workers.”

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