Texas bucks trend, posts labor force gain as governor forecasts 'powerful economic growth'

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott boasts that while most of the U.S. has suffered economically during the coronavirus pandemic, his state's labor force actually grew.

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Abbott shared data from the U.S. Department of Labor showing workforce gains and losses as of December 2020 from the 10 most populated states. Only Texas saw a gain.

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"We are poised for powerful economic growth this year," Abbott tweeted Saturday.

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According to the data, Texas' workforce grew by 8,604 people. During the same period, Florida lost 275,674 workers, New York 427,018 and California 523,317.

A note under Abbott's chart, however, clarifies that the data does not reflect the number of jobs gained or lost, but the number of people who are either working or looking for work. Those who have not actively looked for work in the past four weeks are no longer included in the workforce statistics.

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that as of December, Texas had the 15th-highest unemployment rate in the country among states and Washington, D.C. at 7.2%.

Only four of the states on the chart rank below Texas in unemployment, with Michigan at 7.5%, Illinois at 7.6%, New York at 8.3% and California at 9.0% — the third-worst in the nation. The national average at the time was 6.7% and in January 2021 was 6.3%.

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Notably, however, the unemployment rate is only based on those who count as part of the workforce, which means that the states with decreases in workforce numbers could have higher numbers of residents who are not working.

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