Jobless rate is lowest since 1976


AUSTIN — Texas has its lowest unemployment rate in more than 42 years.

The Texas Workforce Commission on Nov. 16 announced that Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in October, down from 3.8 percent the prior month.

It is the lowest level of unemployment the state has seen since January 1976.

The Texas economy added 32,300 seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs in October. Annual employment growth was 3.1 percent, marking 102 consecutive months of annual growth.

Still, job opportunities abound.

“The jobs are out there, and I encourage all job seekers to contact their local Workforce Solutions office for assistance with job training and placement,” said Julian Alvarez, the TWC commissioner.

Abbott comments on rate

Gov. Greg Abbott welcomed news of the record-low unemployment rate, attributing it to the state’s “lowering taxes, removing regulatory barriers and investing in our workforce and education system.”

“As governor,” Abbott added, “I remain committed to ensuring that Texas stays the most prosperous state in the nation.”

SBOE votes to hike funding

The State Board of Education, which oversees the Texas Education Agency, voted Nov. 20 to increase the funding in the 2020-2021 biennium for school operations, instructional materials and technology.

The SBOE’s preliminary spending decision would give schools $172 million more than currently allotted. The figure includes $55 million that the School Land Board agreed to provide.

But the funding is tied to budget decisions lawmakers must make in the coming year. The 86th Texas Legislature is set to convene on Jan. 8, 2019.

An estimated $60 billion of the state’s current $217 billion budget is for public education. Only Medicaid, at $62.4 billion, takes a greater slice of the budget.

Harvey funds

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush on Nov. 19 announced an additional allocation of $652 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help address unmet housing recovery needs for Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“We look forward to work-