Abbott hosted a fireside chat with Peter Rex, CEO of Rex, an investment and real estate firm, and Texas Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Robert Allen, in Austin on Friday to discuss the economy of the state. He said the state’s ability to recruit businesses from other states and around the world is not primarily due to low taxes or relaxed regulations, but to a strong workforce.
“Workforce propels businesses; workforce propels Texas,” Abbott said.
Texas is one of four states to fully recover all job losses caused by the pandemic, according to a report by Fitch Ratings.
A report released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission found unemployment in the state remained at 4.8% in January from December, but also added 29,000 jobs in January.
“The spirit of Texas – rooted in rugged individualism, freedom and personal responsibility – makes the Lone Star State exceptional in every way,” Abbott said. “From education, agriculture, space, technology, and more, Texas offers everything families, growing businesses, and individuals need to succeed.
Among the additional jobs, trade, transport and utilities gained 12,000, while leisure and hospitality added 5,700 jobs, and information employment increased by 3,300 jobs, according to the figures. state data.
“The Lone Star State continues to set new employment records for Texans, with January’s total surpassing the record set in December,” TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel said in a press release. “Texas has created nearly 700,000 jobs since January 2021, and while we can’t predict the future, job activity and hiring efforts by Texas employers continue to grow.”
Abbott said the state’s investment in early childhood education and a drive to elevate state universities to tier-one research facilities also played a role. Texas now has 11 Tier 1 institutions of higher learning, tied with California for the most in the country.
Compiled by Carnegie Classification, achieving Tier 1 status opens doors for grant opportunities, attracts industry leaders who might want to partner with research, and helps recruit faculty. There are 146 institutions with the distinction in the country, according to Carnegie’s 2021 update.
Abbott added that companies are working with universities to prepare the next generation of working Texans.
“We’re working first to make sure we have an educated workforce,” Abbott said.