Texas Employment ReportTexas Employment ReportLuis B. Torres and Joshua Roberson2021-03-30T05:00:00Ztechnical-report
Texas Economy

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  • Texas lost 27,500 jobs in February, ending nine straight months of gains.*
  • Winter Storm Uri impacted the states' labor market in February, but employment should rebound in March as economic activity gains momentum.
  • Due to the number of jobs lost in February, the Texas economy needs to gain almost 593,300 jobs in the coming months to return to pre-pandemic levels.*
  • During and after 1Q2021, employment will benefit from increasing vaccination rates and a further round federal government stimulus.
    • Wi​ll allow the economy to fully reopen, benefiting services like leisure and hospitality that cannot socially distance.
  • Texas' unemployment rate increased from 6.8 percent in January to 6.9 percent in February, ending four straight months of declines. The unemployment rate has a long way to go to drop to pre-pandemic levels of 3.7 percent from a year ago.*
  • The states' labor force declined 176,879 from February 2020 to February 2021 due to people leaving the labor force.*
    • The longer people are out of work, the harder it is for them to find new employment.
    • 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.
  • The labor force participation rate has registered an overall downward trend since June 2020.*
  • Due to the contraction in the oil industry, the mining and logging industry registered the biggest annual declines from February 2020 to February 21. It was followed by leisure and hospitality.
    • Both i​​ndustries are expected to improve in 2021 as the pandemic gets under control at the end of the year. This will allow the economy to reopen completely and for the global and U.S. economies to rebound from the pandemic.
  • Transportation, warehousing, and utilities is the only industry to register positive growth from February 2020 to February 2021, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, making it the only sector that has recovered all jobs lost due to the pandemic.
  • That industry was followed by financial activities, trade, and professional business services, registering the highest growth rate at an annual basis, even though rates are still negative.
  • Due to the strong presence of the oil industry in Odessa and Midland, both MSAs registered the biggest declines from February 2020 to February 2021.
    • Even t​​hough 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.
  • Waco registered the highest annual growth rate from February 2020 to February 2021. It continues to exhibit a negative rate, but it is on the verge of returning to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Of Texas' four major MSAs, Austin registered the highest annual growth rate from February 2020 to February 2021, benefiting from the substantial presence of the high-tech sector, which can socially distance and has prospered through the pandemic. Austin continues to exhibit a negative rate.
  • Of Texas' four major border MSAs, El Paso registered the highest annual growth rate from February 2020 to February 2021. The city continues to exhibit a negative rate.
  • Government continues to register negative annual employment growth rates as government revenue has been hit hard by the pandemic.
    • T​​his is worrisome because it is the state's major employer, representing almost 16 percent of nonfarm employment.


* 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​

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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