Texas Employment ReportTexas Employment ReportLuis B. Torres and Joshua Roberson2021-12-07T06:00:00Ztechnical-report
Texas Economy

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  • ​Texas added 56,600 jobs in October, a 0.4 percent increase over September. It matched the nation's growth rate of 0.4 percent.
  • The state has gained jobs in 17 of the last 18 months.
  • The Texas economy now needs to gain almost 60,100 jobs to return to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Texas' unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent in October, down 0.2 percentage points from the previous month. The state had a higher unemployment rate than the nation's 4.6 percent. The unemployment rate has a long way to drop to reach pre-pandemic levels of 3.7 percent.
  • The states' labor force increased by 38,981 from September to October 2021, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
  • 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 807,000 in September, below July's record level of 928,000.
    • Job openings are greater than the number of unemployed for a third straight month from July to September.
  • Childcare, the lingering pandemic, early retirement, and the possibility that people are rethinking their career paths are affecting the transition from unemployment to employment.
  • The labor force participation rate improved slightly in October 2021, increasing to 62.5 percent. It reached a trough during 2Q2021 and is slowly increasing.
  • The state's goods-producing sector added 7,900 jobs from September to October 2021. The manufacturing industry registered the biggest gain, adding 2,800 jobs. Construction and mining and logging industries also registered job growth, gaining 2,600 and 2,500 jobs, respectively.
  • The state's service-providing sector added 48,700 jobs from September to October 2021. The services sectors that registered the biggest job gains were professional and business services, which added 21,900 jobs; trade, transportation, and utilities, which gained 15,000 jobs; and the other services sector, which gained 9,100 jobs over the month.
  • The leisure and hospitality sector added 7,600 jobs in October, registering two consecutive months of gains. The two-month job increase indicates 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.
    • In August, this sector lost 24,200 jobs during the upsurge in COVID cases, but with the job gains between September and October, the sector has recuperated the lost jobs, adding 6,400 net jobs during this three-month span.
    • In addition, accommodation and food service firms have reported sizable numbers of unfilled positions and are having difficulty finding applicants, which has hindered hiring.
  • Transportation, warehousing, and utilities; financial activities; professional business services: wholesale trade; and retail trade are the only sectors that recovered all jobs lost due to the pandemic.
  • Midland registered the highest annual growth rate of all Texas Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) from October 2020 to October 2021.*
    • Oil prices above $60/barrel have been accompanied by six months of consecutive job gains in the oil sector.
    • No significant employment gains are expected if oil prices do not exceed $70/barrel for a prolonged period.
    • Midland has recovered only 8.7 percent of the jobs lost due to the pandemic, while neighboring Odessa is still down 21.2 percent of the jobs to pre-COVID levels.
  • Austin-Round Rock registered the highest annual growth rate of Texas' four major MSAs from October 2020 to October 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 October 2020 to October 2021.*
  • Abilene, Killeen-Temple, and Lubbock joined Amarillo, Austin, McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Sherman-Denison, Tyler, and Waco as the only metropolitan areas to have recovered all jobs lost due to the pandemic.
  • Government employment decreased monthly but increased annually during October 2021. The monthly decrease was a result of decreases in both federal and local government employment.


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, October

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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