Shrinking Texas School Payrolls Add To Unemployed

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry likes to tell supporters how many jobs he's created in the 11 years since he took office.

But economists say thousands of laid-off teachers are now showing up among Texas' growing number of unemployed.

Texas lost 900 local public education jobs in August, typically when back-to-school hiring resumes after the summer. Teachers groups and some economists blame the shrinking number of teachers on the $4 billion cut the Legislature made to education spending.

Perry promised cuts in jobs outside the classroom would minimize teacher losses. There's no authoritative tally of teacher layoffs so far, but one teachers union estimates as many as 49,000 fewer public school jobs by 2012.

The unemployment rate in Texas rose to 8.5 percent last month, compared with 9.1 percent nationally.