Texas Employment ReportTexas Employment ReportLuis B. Torres and Joshua Roberson2021-11-03T05:00:00Ztechnical-report
Texas Economy

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  • ​Texas added 95,000 jobs in September, a 0.8 percent increase over August. It exceeded the nation's growth rate of 0.1 percent.
  • The state has gained jobs in 16 of the last 17 months.
  • The Texas economy now needs to gain almost 112,700 jobs to return to prepandemic levels.
  • Texas' unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent in September, down 0.3 percentage points from 5.9 percent the previous month. The state had a higher unemployment rate than the nation's 4.8 percent. The unemployment rate has a long way to drop to reach the pre-pandemic number of 3.7 percent.
  • The states' labor force increased by 38,533 from August 2021 to September 2021, but it still needs an additional 16,312 workers to reach pre-pandemic levels.
    • The longer people are out of work, the harder it is for them to find new employment as skills become inadequate. This can be reverted if programs are created to help retrain marginalized workers.
    • Women in the 25-to-34-year age group were more likely than men to leave their jobs to take care of children because of in-person school and daycare closures. This outcome should be reverted in the coming months after schools and daycares returned to in-person learning and caregiving during August.
  • Record job openings suggest that while the economy is still short of pre-COVID employment levels, it is not due to insufficient labor demand.
    • Texas job openings reached 922,000 in August, slightly below July's record level of 928,000 job openings.
    • Job openings are greater than the number of unemployed for a second straight month from July to August.
  • In addition to childcare, other factors affecting the transition from unemployment to employment could be the lingering pandemic, early retirement, and the possibility that people are rethinking their career paths.
  • The labor force participation rate improved slightly in September, increasing to 62.4 percent. It has trended downward since June 2020.
  • The state's goods-producing sector added 16,600 jobs from August to September. The construction sector registered the biggest gain, adding 8,900 jobs. Construction stopped losing jobs in August after recording four consecutive months of declines. The growth in construction jobs in September is a good sign that job creation is possibly back on track. Also, manufacturing and mining and logging registered strong job growth, gaining 4,700 and 3,000 jobs, respectively.
  • The state's service-providing sector added 79,200 jobs from August to September. The services sectors that registered the biggest job gains were leisure and hospitality adding 31,900 jobs; trade, transportation, and utilities gaining 16,700 jobs; and the professional and business services industry gaining 16,400 jobs over the month.
  • The leisure and hospitality job gains during September are a strong indication that the effects of the upsurge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to the presence of the Delta variant had a one-month negative effect on hiring.
    • This sector lost 24,200 jobs during the August upsurge in COVID cases.
    • In addition, as mentioned previously accommodation and food service firms have reported sizable numbers of unfilled positions and are facing difficulties in finding applicants.
  • Transportation, warehousing, and utilities; financial activities; professional business services; wholesale trade; and retail trade are the only sectors that have recovered all jobs lost due to the pandemic.
  • Midland registered the highest annual growth rate of all Texas Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) from September 2020 to September 2021.*
    • Oil prices above $60 a barrel have been accompanied by five months of consecutive job gains in the oil sector.
    • No significant employment gains are expected if oil prices do not exceed $70 a barrel for a prolonged period.
    • Midland has recovered only 6.2 percent of the jobs lost due to the pandemic, while nearby Odessa is still down 30.8 percent from pre-COVID levels.
  • Austin-Round Rock registered the highest annual growth rate of Texas' four major MSAs from September 2020 to September 2021. The metro benefited from its substantial high-tech sector, which can socially distance and has prospered during the pandemic.*
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission registered the highest annual growth rate of Texas' four major border MSAs from September 2020 to September 2021.*
  • McAllen joined Amarillo, Austin, Sherman-Denison, Tyler, and Waco as the only metropolitan areas to have recovered all jobs lost due to the pandemic.
  • Government employment increased both monthly and annually during September 2021 as a result of increases in federal, state, and local government employment as government revenues improve due to the economic recovery.​


Note: All measurements are calculated using seasonally adjusted data unless stated otherwise.

* Analysis based on nonseasonally adjusted data.

To access the complete report with figures and tables, click the download button.

Previous reports available: ​

2021: January, February​, March​, April, May, June​, July​, August​, September

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