Texas Employment ReportTexas Employment ReportLuis B. Torres and Joshua Roberson2021-04-23T05:00:00Ztechnical-report
Texas Economy

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  • Texas jobs rebounded strongly in March after Winter Storm Uri hit the economy the previous month. The state had job gains in ten of the last 11 months.*
  • Texas added 99,000 jobs during March, increasing 0.8 percent with respect to February, a higher growth rate than the nation's 0.6 percent.*
  • Due to the jobs gained during March, the Texas economy now needs to gain almost 469,000 jobs 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, allowing the economy to fully reopen, benefiting services like leisure and hospitality that cannot socially distance.
  • During March, Texas' unemployment rate was unchanged from the previous month at 6.9 percent. The unemployment rate has a long way to drop to pre-pandemic levels of 3.7 percent.*
  • The states' labor force increased 45,114 from March 20 to March 21 due to more people joining the labor force, but it still needs around 150,114 people to rejoin the labor force to achieve 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 reversed if programs are created to 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 should change once schools and daycares return to in-person learning and caregiving.
  • Even though the labor force participation rate rebounded in March 21, it has still registered an overall downward trend since June 20.*
  • Due to the contraction in the oil industry, the mining and logging industry registered the biggest annual declines from March 20 to March 21. It was followed by the leisure and hospitality.
    • ​​Expectations for 2021 are for both industries to improve if 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.
  • Transportation, warehousing, and utilities registered positive growth from March 20 to March 21, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, making it one of the two sectors that has recovered all the jobs lost due to the pandemic.
  • Financial activities is the other industry that registered positive growth from March 20 to March 21. It is the other sector that has recovered all the jobs lost due to the pandemic.
  • Both industries were followed by professional and business services and trade, registering the highest growth rate at an annual basis, even though rates are still negative.
  • Odessa and Midland, due to the strong presence of the oil industry in both MSAs, registered the biggest declines from March 20 to March 21.
    • ​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 between $50 and $60 a barrel.
  • Waco registered a positive annual growth rate from March 20 to March 21, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, making it the first and only Texas MSA to record higher pre-pandemic employment levels.
  • Of Texas' four major MSAs, Austin registered the highest annual growth rate from March 20 to March 21, benefiting from its substantial high-tech sector that can socially distance and has prospered through the pandemic. The MSA's growth rate continues to exhibit a negative rate.
  • Of Texas' four major border MSAs, El Paso registered the highest annual growth rate from March 20 to March 21. Its growth rate continues to be negative.
  • Government continues to register negative annual employment growth rates as government revenue has been hit hard by the pandemic.
    • This is worrisome because it is the state's major employer, representing almost 16 percent of nonfarm employment.
    • Local government employment, which represents around 1.31 million jobs, has been hit the hardest and has trended downward during the last three months.*


* Anal​ysis based on seasonally adjusted data. Labor force numbers and unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted.

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Previous reports available: 

2021: January, February​, March​

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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