Emails, Cheryl Abbot, regional economist, chief, Economic Analysis & Information, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nov. 16, 2017

11:37 a.m.

Gardner, please see my responses below.

Cheryl Abbot

Regional Economist

Chief, Economic Analysis & Information

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Dallas, TX


From: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin)

Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2017 9:59 AM

To: Abbot, Cheryl

Subject: Seeking best available data today




Good morning. For a story I seek to complete today, we are reviewing a claim by Gov. Greg Abbott that the Texas unemployment rate is now the lowest in 40 years and that Texas led the nation last month in new job creation.


From BLS data, it looks to me that the 4.0 percent September 2017 jobless rate matched the rate in November and December 2000. There doesn’t appear to have been a lower rate, per the posted information dating back through 1976. Is my read of the figures accurate?

Yes, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Texas in September 2017 matched those of November and December 2000, all being the lowest rates recorded in the State since 1976.


What figures best bear on whether Texas last month led the nation in job creation? I am also interested in gauging jobs created in the context of each state’s workforce or another appropriate metric – one that takes into account the varied state populations.


Based on our Current Employment Statistics Survey (CES) and copied directly from our release, State Employment and Unemployment – September 2017:


Nonfarm Payroll Employment

…….Five states had over-the-month increases in nonfarm payroll employment in September. The largest increase

in employment occurred in California (+52,200), followed by Washington (+13,800) and Indiana

(+11,400). In percentage terms, the largest increase occurred in Nebraska (+0.5 percent), followed by

Arizona, Indiana, and Washington (+0.4 percent each). (See tables D and 3.)


Twenty-eight states had over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment in September. The

largest job gains occurred in California (+280,300), Texas (+256,100), and New York (+93,100). The

largest percentage gains occurred in Nevada and Utah (+2.5 percent each), followed by Maryland (+2.4

percent). (See table E and map 2.)


As you can see, the largest monthly increase in jobs in September 2017 occurred in California (+52,200). In percentage terms, Nebraska led among the states with a 0.5-percent gain. California also recorded the largest  over-the-year increase during this period (280,300), followed by Texas (256,100).


The  Bureau will be releasing October 2017 State Employment and Unemployment data tomorrow at 9:00 am.


As ever, we rely on attributable on-the-record information.


Thank you,




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W. Gardner Selby

Reporter / News

Austin American-Statesman

PolitiFact Texas

From: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin)

Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2017 1:10 PM


A fresh query here:


I see that Texas wasn’t listed in the October bureau press release among states with statistically significant job gains, by percentage, from August to September 2017. How did Texas fare, percentage-wise? Can you provide or point me to a chart showing such percentage changes for all the states?



1:24 p.m.

There is a table online that shows both the number and percent change over the month and over the year for all 50 states. And it’s sortable no less! If you want to save the September data for some reason, be sure to download it today, because it will be updated with October 2017 information tomorrow. The address is: