Texas Employment ReportTexas Employment ReportLuis B. Torres and Joshua Roberson2021-06-01T05:00:00Ztechnical-report
Texas Economy

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  • ​Texas jobs increased modestly during April, recording gains in 11 of the last 12 months.*
  • Texas added 13,000 jobs during April, increasing 0.1 percent over March. However, its growth rate was lower than the nation's 0.2 percent.*
  • Due to the jobs gained during April, the Texas economy now needs to gain almost 446,000 jobs in the coming months to return to pre-pandemic levels.*
  • For the remainder of 2021, employment will benefit from increasing vaccination rates and a further round of federal government stimulus. This will allow the economy to fully reopen, benefiting services that cannot socially distance, such as leisure and hospitality.
  • During April, the Texas unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent with respect to the previous month. The state had a higher unemployment rate than the nation's 6.1 percent. The unemployment rate has a long way to drop to reach pre-pandemic levels of 3.7 percent.*
  • The states' labor force increased 662,969 from April 2020 to April 2021 due to more people joining the labor force, but it still needs around 151,309 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 of marginalized workers.
    •  ​Wo​men 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 once schools and daycares return to in-person learning and caregiving.
  • ​Anecdotal evidence from service sector businesses points toward the lack of available applicants and generous unemployment benefits as major impediments in rehiring workers.
    • ​To eliminate the incentive of remaining unemployed, Texas will opt out of further federal unemployment compensation related to the COVID-19 pandemic effective June 26, 2021. 
    • ​​The measure will reduce minimum unemployment payments from $19,240 a year to $3,640 a year.
  • The labor force participation rate dropped slightly in April 2021 and continues the downward trend that began in June 2020.*
  • The mining and logging industry registered an annual decline from Aprril 2020 to April 2021. It is the only sector that continues to register annual declines due to the contraction in the oil industry during the pandemic.
    • Expectations for 2021 are for the industry to improve as the pandemic is brought under control at the end of the year, allowing the economy to reopen completely and for the global and U.S. economies to rebound from the pandemic.
    • However, prices in the $50-$60 range will not be enough to create significant employment gains or overall economic improvement.
    • In addition, the incoming administration's clean energy policy will be a major headwind for the industry.
  • The leisure and hospitality sector registered both the highest monthly and annual growth rate in April 2021, but it still needs to gain 168,800 jobs in the coming months to return to pre-pandemic levels.*
  • The state's goods-producing sector registered losses of 17,500 jobs from March 2021 to April 2021. The majority of the losses came from the construction industry, which lost 13,600 jobs.*
  • Transportation, warehousing, and utilities and financial activities continue to be the only two sectors that have recovered all the jobs lost due to the pandemic.*
  • Due to the strong presence of the oil industry in Odessa and Midland, both MSAs registered the biggest declines from April 2020 to April 2021 and are the only two metropolitan areas that continue to register negative annual growth.
  • Even though the oil industry is expected to improve in 2021, it will probably not be enough to create significant employment gains or overall economic improvement if oil prices are $50-$60 a barrel.
  • Austin registered the highest annual growth rate of all Texas metropolitan areas from April 2020 to April 2021, benefiting from its substantial high-tech sector, which can socially distance and has prospered through the pandemic.
  • El Paso registered the highest annual growth rate of the four major Texas border MSAs from April 2020 to April 2021.
  • Waco continues to be the only metropolitan area to have recovered all the jobs lost due to the pandemic.*
  • Government registered both positive monthly and annual employment growth rates due to an increase in both federal and local government employment, while government revenue has been hit hard by the pandemic.*


* Anal​ysis based on seasonally adjusted labor force numbers and unemployment rates.

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Previous reports available: 

2021: January, February​, March​, April

Digital and Print2303https://www.recenter.tamu.edu/articles/technical-report/Texas-Employment-Report-2303 https://assets.recenter.tamu.edu/Documents/Articles/2303.pdf



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