According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, Texas could lose nearly 300,000 jobs in 2009 with the unemployment rate hitting 8 percent. The article reported an announcement by Keith Phillips, a Dallas Fed economist who is predicting that the Texas job numbers could contract as much as much as the 3 percent drop seen during the bust of the 1980’s.

The article said:

“Unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to be pretty sharp based on the leading indicators,” said Keith Phillips, a Dallas Fed economist who is based in San Antonio, referring to the employment decline he is forecasting.

With a decline in the construction industry and the oil and gas sector, Texas workers are going to take a big this year with unemployment number going way up. This is why it is imperative that Texas legislators take an aggressive approach to making sure that unemployed workers get access to benefits that could help them weather the storm. This may require us to expand the unemployment insurance program to take more jobless workers under its wings.

If we don’t take action with this unemployment crisis we will see a new class of jobless Texans growing in this state.