Some economic trends are too great to resist, even for Texas and Gov. Rick Perry.
Since the middle of 2000, the year that Perry became governor, the state has outperformed the nation in job growth in every category except one: information.
That sector includes telecommunications, long seen as a strength in the Dallas area, along with publishers of newspapers, books and directories, whose troubles continued even after the recession ended.
Sweeping technological changes are causing the big job losses, so even a large state with a growing population cannot escape the downturn. As cellphones have become more popular, there are fewer land lines to install and maintain, reducing the need for many telecom workers, Since mid-2000, more than 550,000 industry jobs have been eliminated nationwide, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In publishing, the Internet and smartphones have grabbed readers and advertisers, forcing deep cuts at newspapers, magazines and publishers of directories, such as phone books. Nationwide, these industries eliminated more than 287,000 jobs since July 2000.
Texas lost 32 percent of its jobs in the information category in the past 11 years, while the nation's total fell 27 percent. During Perry's tenure, only two categories lost jobs: information and manufacturing, and Texas' decline in manufacturing was much smaller than in the rest of the country.
One consolation is that the information category is the smallest major sector classified by the Texas Workforce Commission. With 189,000 workers, it accounts for less than 2 percent of the non-agricultural payroll jobs in the state and has 59,000 fewer than the next smallest category, mining and logging.
But information also includes some decidedly high-tech fields, such as data processing, Internet servicing and hosting, and software publishing. Demand for those services appears to have exploded in the past decade, but the work is clearly being done by fewer people.
This may be an indicator of what ails the broader economy today: Companies can ramp up production with less hiring than in the past, especially in information technology.
"Since the bursting of the dot-com bubble, IT companies have had a relentless focus on cost-cutting and efficiency," said Bill Sproull, president of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce. "They have learned to do a lot more with a lot less."
They have also expanded aggressively into other countries, and that bigger global footprint sometimes comes at the expense of domestic hiring.
Richardson is home to the Telecom Corridor, which exploded in the 1990s and made North Texas a high-tech hub with a national reputation. Sproull said the area continues to thrive, even after Nortel, formerly a major employer, descended into bankruptcy.
AT&T is the largest employer, he said, and Ericsson remains a key player. MetroPCS, a growing wireless company, has its headquarters there.
In retrospect, the tech industry was heavily bloated by 2000, so the job numbers were exceptionally high at that time. They dropped after the tech bubble burst, and in the Dallas area, telecom jobs stabilized in the middle of the decade. But they resumed their decline and have continued to fall since 2008, according to the statistics bureau.
It's important to note that the high-tech sector includes workers in many other categories, ranging from aerospace to semiconductors. And there's been strong job growth statewide in three sectors that owe much to technology: computer system design; professional, scientific and technical services; and consulting.
In Texas, those three categories combined to add 145,000 jobs since July 2000, more than the 88,000 lost in the information sector.
The tech industry also uses staffing companies to bring in contract workers. This lets companies expand and shrink more easily, and the hires may not show up in the usual employment surveys.