Texas Unemployment Rate Rises Above 8% in November Despite Addition of 65,800 Private Sector Jobs

The unemployment rate returned to September levels last month, increasing 1.2 percent from the state’s October position according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

Despite the rate increase, Texas’ private sector added 65,800 jobs.

Data from the Texas Workforce Commissions Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS).

The national unemployment rate remains lower than Texas’, at 6.4 percent.

TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel said, “November marks the seventh consecutive month of job growth in Texas, thanks to the determination of Texas businesses and job seekers to connect for valuable opportunities in Texas industries.”

The civilian labor force increased by roughly 98,000 workers, about half the raw unemployment growth of 185,000.

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Amarillo is again the region with the lowest unemployment in the state at 5.4 percent, but is up a point from October. The next two lowest regions in order are College Station-Bryan and Austin-Round Rock.

Odessa and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission remain the regions with the highest rates in the state at 13.1 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively.

Texas’ oil and gas sector remains shaken from the pandemic, government-mandated lockdowns, and the international price war that have each culminated in one heavy blow to the state’s most pivotal industry. It is, however, slowly regaining its footing.

Sectors with the largest November job gains were Leisure & Hospitality — which continues its recovery from the hit it suffered in the pandemic’s early days — and the Trade, Transportation, & Utilities sector. Each added over 20,000 jobs last month.

Some notable decreases came in Mining & Logging, Manufacturing, Information, and Government. The lattermost posted the largest job loss, shedding 4,800 in November.

Many portions of the state remain restricted to some degree. In October, Governor Greg Abbott issued a new policy allowing for businesses that had been explicitly closed, particularly bars, to reopen at reduced capacity with two caveats: the area’s hospital district had to remain below 15 percent of occupied beds taken by coronavirus cases for seven consecutive days, and the respective county judge must approve.

Some counties, such as Collin County, obliged while others, like Dallas and Travis counties, refused.

On Thursday, Abbott announced that 224,000 vaccine doses would be distributed throughout the state this week, and further promised more to come as the Moderna vaccine becomes available. The effort is part of the White House’s Operation Warp Speed.

Drawing a line in the sand, Abbott added that “No, we will not have any more shutdowns in Texas.”

Less than a month before the 87th Legislature convenes in Austin, the state’s economic concerns will be paramount to the body’s order of business. Tax collections continue to lag behind 2019 levels, but the state’s outlook has improved since its estimated $4.6 billion budget deficit forecasted back in July.

The Legislative Budget Board capped new general revenue spending at 7 percent for the next biennium, accounting for the economic downturn and all of its byproducts.

Texas, and the nation, remains significantly removed from its economic highs and unemployment lows of the pre-coronavirus economy.

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