Texas’ Unemployment Rate Hits Historic Low 3.7%

Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in October, down from 3.8 percent in September 2018, reaching its lowest level since the state unemployment data series began in January 1976. The Texas economy added 32,300 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in October. Annual employment growth for Texas was 3.1 percent in October, marking 102 consecutive months of annual growth.

“The Texas economy continues to remain strong by adding 32,300 jobs in the month of October. These numbers highlight the strategic job creation efforts of our Texas employers, and provides our world-class workforce with career options in a variety of growing industries,” said TWC Chair and Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs. “Texas is a state that always welcomes new employers and also supports our homegrown businesses, offering them the tools they need to succeed and build on our continued success as a global economic leader.”

October’s annual growth in the state’s Goods Producing industries was strong at 6.6 percent. Over the month, Mining and Logging added 4,300 jobs, followed by the Construction industry with 1,500 positions.

October Texas Labor Market Industries

In Texas’ Service Providing sector, Trade, Transportation, and Utilities added 8,900 positions over the month, and led all industries in job growth for October. Also within this sector, Leisure and Hospitality added 8,700 jobs, followed by Education and Health Services which added 5,100.

“Texas’ labor force is made up of hard-working individuals who are eager to obtain the skills that our employers need,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “The jobs are out there, and I encourage all job seekers to contact their local Workforce Solutions office for assistance with job training and placement.”

The Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) recorded the month’s lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 2.1 percent, followed by the Amarillo MSA and the Odessa MSA which had the second lowest with a rate of 2.5 percent. The Austin-Round Rock, College Station- Bryan and Lubbock MSAs recorded the third lowest rate of 2.7 percent for October.

“Texas’ dynamic marketplace has set the standard as the Best State for Business over 14 consecutive years according to CEOs,” said TWC Commissioner Representing the Public Robert D. Thomas. “That track record of accomplishment recognizes the perseverance, resilience and hard work of our workforce, employers and collaborative partners across the state.”

Employment estimates released by TWC are produced in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. All estimates are subject to revision. To access this and more employment data, visit tracer2.com.

To see the full October Texas Labor Market release, please visit the TWC website.

Follow us on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter for more updates about Texas Labor Market Data.

Texas Economy Adds 23,500 Positions in July

The Texas economy added 23,500 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in July, which marked 25 consecutive months of employment growth. Over the year, Texas added 377,100 jobs for an annual employment growth rate of 3.1 percent.

TWC July Texas Labor Data showing 23,500 jobs added and 4.0 percent unemployment

“Private-sector employers continue to boost the Texas economy adding another 25,900 jobs in July and 372,700 jobs over the year, said Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chair Ruth Ruggero Hughs. “Thanks to the innovation and expansion by employers in a wide range of industries, Texans continue to be offered more opportunities to demonstrate their first-class skills and start a career in the nation’s #1 state for business.”

July’s annual growth in the state’s Goods Producing industries was strong at 6.2 percent. Over the month, Construction led all major industries, adding 10,500 jobs.

In Texas’ Service Providing sector, Trade, Transportation and Utilities added 7,500 positions over the month.  Also within this sector, Education and Health Services added 6,400 jobs, followed by Leisure and Hospitality with a gain of 5,700 positions.

TWC July Texas Labor Data jobs growth by industries: 7,500 in trade, transportation and utilities, 6,400 in education and health services and 5,700 in leisure and hospitality.

“The Texas labor force continues to provide employers with the skills and expertise needed to keep the Texas economy growing,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “TWC is continually committed to developing innovative workforce programs and supporting Texas businesses with a skilled talent pipeline that is unmatched throughout the nation.”

View the July 2018 Texas Labor Market Highlights from TWC Labor Commissioner Julian Alvarez:

The Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) recorded the month’s lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a not seasonally adjusted rate of 2.2 percent, followed by the Amarillo and Odessa MSAs with a rate of 2.9 percent, each. The Austin-Round Rock MSA recorded the fourth lowest rate of 3.1 percent for July.

Employment estimates released by TWC are produced in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. All estimates are subject to revision. To access this and more employment data, visit tracer2.com.

To see the full July Texas Labor Market release, please visit the TWC website.

Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for more updates about Texas Labor Market Data.

31 Central Texas Employers Honored at ‘We Hire Vets’ Ceremony for their Commitment to Hiring Veterans

PHOTO: Workforce Solutions of Central Texas COO Ken Cox, TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs, and Central Texas Workforce Development Board Executive Director Susan Kamas, at the Killeen "We Hire Vets" event.
PHOTO: Workforce Solutions of Central Texas COO Ken Cox, TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs, and Central Texas Workforce Development Board Executive Director Susan Kamas, at the Killeen “We Hire Vets” event.

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and Workforce Solutions of Central Texas honored 31 area employers for their commitment to hiring veterans during a recent “We Hire Vets” recognition ceremony.

The event was held at Workforce Solutions of Central Texas Killeen on May 25.

Launched in 2017, “We Hire Vets” is an employer recognition program developed by TWC in partnership with the Texas Veterans Commission and Texas Workforce Solutions Offices, to recognize Texas employers for their efforts in hiring our nation’s heroes. Employers whose workforce is comprised of at least 10 percent military veterans are eligible to receive a “We Hire Vets” employer recognition decal to display on their storefront, as well as an electronic decal to display on the employer’s website.

Among the many employers recognized at the event was McLane Southwest, one of the largest supply chain services leaders in the country, maintaining one of the nation’s most expansive private fleets.

“At McLane Southwest, we feel it is a value to pursue and hire our veterans of this great country. In fact, 14.7 percent of McLane Southwest’s workforce is comprised of veterans,” said Gary Johnson, McLane Southwest Division President of Grocery Supply Chain Solutions. “These individuals come from a previous background where a culture of accomplishment and teamwork are second nature. Many of them possess some form of leadership training and capability, and they take their assigned responsibilities very seriously. Our veterans are not afraid of hard work, and given the right opportunity and support, they become some of the most valuable assets to our organization.”

McLane Southwest's Warriors to Wheels LogoMcLane’s commitment to veterans led the company to launch a Registered Driver Apprenticeship program featuring a veteran initiative, Warriors to Wheels.

The Warriors to Wheels program is designed to attract and provide military veterans an “earn while you learn” training model that utilizes their military training experience to move into a career in transportation. McLane offers careers that don’t require drivers to be away from their families for extended periods of time. Delivery drivers run 1-2-day routes, with over 80 distribution centers nationwide.

“McLane values military veterans and the work ethic and skills they bring to the table. Because of this, McLane decided to provide an opportunity for veterans to utilize their military training and start a new career in transportation, with the goal of becoming part of the McLane family. This program enables eligible veterans to take full advantage of their GI Bill benefits while training to become a McLane Driver. For more information and a list of participating locations, please go to www.mclanew2w.com,” said Jennifer Rojas Clause, Inclusion and EEO Compliance Manager at McLane.

Another Central Texas employer who was recognized for their commitment to hiring veterans is Seton Medical Center Harker Heights (SMCHH), whose workforce is comprised of at least 12 percent military veterans.

PHOTO: (L) Michael Hales, RN at Seton Medical Center Harker Heights, Zachary K. Dietze, CEO of Seton Medical Center Harker Heights, TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs, and Central Texas Workforce Development Board Executive Director Susan Kamas, at the Killeen "We Hire Vets" event.
PHOTO: (L) Michael Hales, RN at Seton Medical Center Harker Heights, Zachary K. Dietze, CEO of Seton Medical Center Harker Heights, TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs, and Central Texas Workforce Development Board Executive Director Susan Kamas, at the Killeen “We Hire Vets” event.

SMCHH offers an array of health services for the Central Texas community, such as a Cardiology, Emergency Services and a Level IV Trauma Designated Emergency Room.

“At Seton Medical Center Harker Heights we are honored to be recognized by ‘We Hire Vets.’ We understand the advantages that come with hiring veterans and the invaluable experience they bring to our organization. We will continue to make it a priority to hire veterans and are fortunate to be part of the larger Fort Hood community,” said SMCHH CEO Zachary K. Dietze.

Some of the other employers recognized at the Killeen event included Azbell Electronics, Central Texas College, the Cities of Belton, Harker Heights, Lampasas and Rockdale, as well as General Dynamics Land Systems.

For maintaining a workforce of about 25 percent veterans, the Workforce Solutions of Central Texas Board and Workforce Center were also recognized at the Killeen event by TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs.

During previous recognition events, Lockheed Martin, Prudential Financial, the San Antonio Police Department and Southwest Airlines have been honored as “We Hire Vets” employers.

We Hire Vets LogoEmploying veterans creates a dedicated workforce with employees who know how to lead, build teams, and accept and meet challenges. Recognition of employers with veteran-friendly hiring practices is an important aspect of the Texas Operation Welcome Home (TOWH) initiative that assists recently separated veterans with employment and training opportunities.

As Gov. Greg Abbott shared when the “We Hire Vets” program was launched, “It is important to recognize current employers utilizing our highly-skilled veteran workforce, and encourage future employers to consider veterans in their hiring process. While we can never say ‘thank you’ enough, the ‘We Hire Vets’ program will create well-deserved opportunities to get our veterans back into the workforce.”

For more information on TOWH and the “We Hire Vets” program, and to download the “We Hire Vets” nomination/employer form, visit www.TexasOperationWelcomeHome.org.

Full List of Central Texas Employers Recognized at the Event:

More Photos from the Event:

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The Best Advice I Ever…

You know how sometimes things cause you to look back on what you’ve done in the past? I’ve been having one of those moments lately, for some reason thinking about the best advice I ever got (or gave) about looking for a job. I’ve lots to ponder.

And because I know some really good people who make their living helping employers and job seekers connect, I decided to expand my retrospective party and ask them the same question. This goes out to the good people in the public workforce system who give of themselves to help others define, find, and achieve their career goals: thanks for all you do.

Their thoughts and input is below. I hope you find some of it helpful. Thank you for reading and best of luck in your search.

  • Always be honest.
  • Put your feelers (network) – and don’t be afraid to let people know you’re looking.
  • There is no one best way to look for a job, but there are several good
  • Confidence is the key to a successful job search and interview. Many times I worked with job seekers that came across a job they wanted but ended up not applying for it because they rule themselves out. When I asked some of them why, as they begin to explain I could tell that their issue was a lack the confidence. They didn’t believe they could get the job.
  • It’s all about relationships/who you know and building your network- that’s not just for seasoned professionals, but for anyone at any point in their career. So many jobs never even make it to the posting stage, and for those that do, many job descriptions are either poorly written or are inaccurate. Knowing someone within an organization that can call your attention to these types of things, including advice as to whether the job would, or would not, be a good fit, is invaluable. Sometimes you just need a job, but many times (especially as you progress in your career) it’s about finding the right job.
  • Persistence and diligence – if you stay at it long enough, stay positive, and position yourself for success, good things tend to happen.
  • Keep at it, it’s a numbers game. For every 100 jobs you apply for, you’ll get at least 1 interview per month. Up the odds by applying for more positions. In other words, treat the job search as if it were a job.
  • The interview begins with the first interaction you have with the company. You need to demonstrate good communication, customer service, and decision-making skills as well as initiative every time you encounter anyone at the company. You can be sure that if you treated someone poorly or acted inappropriately to the receptionist or even when you were a customer not looking for work, word will likely reach the hiring authority.
  • Be the most informed job seeker you can be. Learn about the types of jobs you want, what they do, what skills are required and what skills are desired, what the job market looks like for those skills and jobs, what they pay, who hires those jobs, etc. It takes time but the more informed you are up front, the more you’ll be able to control your destiny.

A Good Lesson

Most people know Mike Rowe. Even if his name doesn’t ring a bell, say the “dirty jobs guy” and everyone knows who you’re talking about.

Mike is a very interesting guy. Reality TV show host, son to working-class parents, a former opera singer, and champion of the cause of teaching kids that good jobs don’t only come to you by way of a 4 year college degree.

But his mention here is not to talk about him. Rather it’s to let him, in his own words, tell the story of his chance encounter with an average employee at an average business and the simple but powerful lesson that came from that. Enjoy.

I left my hotel room this morning to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, and saw part of a man standing in the hallway. His feet were on a ladder. The rest of him was somewhere in the ceiling.

I introduced myself and asked what he doing. Along with satisfying my natural curiosity, it seemed a good way to delay my appointment with gravity, which I was in no hurry to keep. His name is Corey Mundle, and like many who work in tight spaces, he recognized me and we quickly got to talking.

“Well Mike, here’s the problem,” he said. “My pipe has a crack in it, and now my hot water is leaking into my laundry room. I’ve got to turn off my water, replace my old pipe, and get my new one installed before my customers notice there’s a problem.”

I asked if he needed a hand and he told me the job wasn’t dirty enough. We laughed, and Corey asked if he could have a quick photo. I said sure, assuming he’d return the favor. He asked why I wanted a photo of him, and I said it was because I liked his choice of pronouns.

“I like the way you talk about your work,” I said. “It’s not, ‘the’ hot water, it’s ‘MY’ hot water. It’s not, ‘the’ laundry room, it’s ‘MY’ laundry room. It’s not ‘a’ new pipe, it’s ‘MY’ new pipe. Most people don’t talk like that about their work. Most people don’t own it.”

Corey shrugged and said, “This is not ‘a’ job; this is ‘MY’ job. I’m glad to have it, and I take pride in everything I do.”

Personal responsibility…there is no substitute.

Thanks, Mike; for noticing small things that make all the difference but too often go unnoticed. And thanks, Corey; for owning it.

Looking for a Few Good People

Do you know WIT? Do you know TWIST? Do you have experience helping job seekers and employers connect? Have you ever worked in the public workforce system? If so, you might be just who we’re looking for.

The Workforce Development Division at Texas Workforce Commission is looking for a few good people with public workforce system/local office experience to help support and improve workforce applications like WorkInTexas.com, The Workforce Information System of Texas (TWIST), Adult Education & Literacy (AEL), Apprenticeship, Career Schools and more…

These positions are generally described as Computer Systems Analysts or Business Analysts but don’t let that scare you. Those titles don’t exactly tell the whole story.  We need two or three people who know and have used these systems on a daily basis to provide services to job seekers and employers. People who know how they work, and don’t work, to help make them better. So while computer/analyst experience is great, it can also be taught. Having walked in the shoes of our front line/service-delivering staff cannot.

Learn more about the jobs  

How to apply

[Assuming you’re registered with WorkInTexas.com, logged on AND on the Contact Instructions page] Select “I’m Interested” and click SAVE. Your State of Texas application will automatically be submitted to TWC for consideration for the position. If selected, TWC will contact you directly. TWC encourages all applicants to apply via the process above. However, if you wish to submit in person or via postal mail, please direct your application to: Texas Workforce Commission, Human Resources Management Department, 101 East 15th Street, Room 230, Austin, TX 78778-0001, RE: Posting ###### (one of the #’s listed above).

Thanks, and good luck!

A Different Approach

I read an article the other day about jobs for creative-minded people that really hit home. Not because the jobs they highlighted weren’t obvious, but it was the different way of thinking about career choices that caught my attention. We, the public workforce system, generally approach career selection and planning from the standpoint of titles and standardized job coding methods. And it makes sense: It’s standardized; It’s repeatable; It’s relatively easy to explain. But with recent changes to public workforce system-enabling legislation that puts great emphasis on career planning, it’s important for us to remember that’s not the only way to think about it.

To say it a different way, we tend to categorize people by job titles rather than job skills. Helping people understand what it takes to become a nurse or an engineer is very much in our wheelhouse. Helping people understand what they can do if they’re creative-minded, not so much. And it’s not because we can’t, we just normally don’t. Skills, particularly soft skills like creativity, are squishy and harder to define. But that effort, at least for some customers, might be a better and more relatable way to help, giving everyone a better result in the end. It’s just a different approach to solving a problem.

Have a read and see what you think.

Pictures Tell Great Stories

For this post we’ve opted just to share a few charts and graphs we’ve come across recently. They probably won’t directly solve job search or recruiting problems but they might give insight to determine best solution-path. At the very least we hope they provide some perspective and insight into the job market.

  1. Job Losses & Gains – A few years ago as the great recession was winding down someone put together a great chart that showed the significant job losses the U.S. experienced from 2007 – 2010. To say a picture was worth a thousand words is to say the Grand Canyon is a just a gash in the ground. Fast forward a few years and our friends at Theory Into Practice (TIP) Strategies have put together an even more comprehensive map. One that shows both job loss AND job gain. Since 1999. And it’s fascinating. Blue is good, that’s jobs gained. Orange is bad, that’s jobs lost. Check it out.
  2. Job Salaries by State – There are many of these salary exploration tools around but I like this one because it’s easy to use. Want to know what a specific job in a general occupational field in any state pays? Select a state and mouse-around the graph to find out. Each box represents the relative size of the labor pool working in that occupation. And if you just want to see which jobs really pay, slide the dot on the income salary bar around to find out.
  3. Under-Employment – Unemployment rate is a standard indicator of economic stability. But as that improves (gets lower) the conversation tends to focus on the under-employment rate. Generally you want just enough skilled workers to fill all the skilled jobs. Underemployment means there are more skilled workers than there are jobs for them so they have to work at jobs that require less skill than they possess and thereby earn less than they otherwise could. For example, in this graph you’ll see that Austin has a ton of skilled labor but not enough jobs for all those people, whereas Odessa has a ton of skilled jobs but not enough people to fill them. And why does this matter? Because part of what the public workforce system does is connect skilled labor with skilled demand. Charts like this help us better understand local situations.
  4. WorkInTexas.com Job Seeker Supply – We often get questions (usually from employers) about what job seeker skill sets are available in what parts of the state. This information is very helpful to companies looking to open new or expand existing operations. This is another topic for which there are many tools, but years ago we developed some very simple pie charts to help graphically show the labor pool the Texas workforce system has available to it through WorkInTexas.com. Have a look.

Have You Ever… The Re-Entry Landscape

Have You Ever… The Re-Entry Landscape

Getting back on your employment-feet after a criminal conviction isn’t easy. And trying to help someone who is can be just as difficult if you’ve never walked in those shoes.

The question of how the public workforce system can help came up in a meeting a few weeks ago, so to get some insight I reached out to a colleague who’s been helping folks in these situations for years. As expected, he had some good perspective.

Assistance

  • Successful reconnection to the public world generally hinges on four factors: 1) stable housing; 2) sobriety; 3) social support (family, friends, etc.); and 4) a job. And like a four-legged chair, remove any one leg and it tips right over.
  • For the first three, there’s not much the public workforce system can do beyond guiding individuals to groups that do provide those services. But for a job, there is MUCH we can do. We can address education needs, get you into occupational training programs that develop in-demand skills for growing career fields, help complete applications and build a resume, provide good job leads via WorkInTexas.com, and even provide assistance with bonding, tax credits, and licensing and certification questions that might help you overcome some employment hurdles.
  • And maybe most important, we can help answer, on applications and in interviews, the tough questions when asked to disclose or explain any difficult past situations. There is no silver-bullet answer but there are certainly things you should know and do to improve your chances for an interview, and a job.

Advice

  • Having a criminal background doesn’t make it impossible to get a job; it just requires more effort on your part to find one. It’s easy and understandable to get discouraged, but looking for work is a function of numbers. Keep at it and it your effort will pay off.
  • All employers look for certain core attributes in those they hire. Show you have those and that can go a long way to help an employer see past other maybe not-so-good things. These include motivation, ability to take direction and learn work processes, get along well with co-workers and customers, and a willingness to learn and do.
  • Remember, many available jobs are never posted anywhere. These “hidden jobs” are filled by family, friends, or acquaintances of employees at the job site. Talking to everyone about who and what they know is one of the best ways to find a good job.

Myth-busting

  • Looking for an “offender friendly” list of employers? Don’t. Most employers today take a situational approach to hiring individuals with criminal backgrounds. Categorizing that into a list of who will and who won’t just can’t be done.

Find a workforce office near you.

Good luck.

Using “Keywords”

“Keywords” are one area of WorkInTexas.com for which we get a lot of questions, from all types of users. And while some seek to understand how and why they’re used, more often questions are about what types of things that make sense to be listed as keywords. And this is especially important if you want to ensure you get the best possible job matches.

The Thing

“Keywords” in WorkInTexas.com allow you to provide additional detail about individual and specific criteria and skills that you as an employer want or you as a job seeker have. These keywords are not automatically pulled from the job description. Instead, these are intentionally entered by employers and job seekers to help narrow job matches to more accurately meet the other’s expectations.

Computer programmer, mechanic, project manager, nurse, and others all have small but significant differences in skills sets and requirements that quickly make them good or bad matches. The specific skills for these types of jobs (.net, java; diesel engines, ASE certified; PMP, agile; RN, LVN) can make all the difference if added to your WorkInTexas.com posting or profile.

The Catch

Keywords don’t always fit. Customer Service and Good Communication are certainly skills, but are subject to interpretation as opposed to hard skills and recognized licenses, certifications, and the like.

Also, listing specific types of desired knowledge creates a hard match, particularly for job seekers. As an employer, you might value someone who has knowledge of the “Workforce Investment Act” and perceive it as a skill. However, would a job seeker know what that is, and would they think of it as a skill, or would they be more likely to think of it as a program for which their skill of Policy Analysis applies?

In a nutshell, the best results are achieved when listing specific terms that represent tangible things.

The Tips

  • Format matters – “C+” is not the same as “C +.” And “payroll” is not the same as “pay roll.” Enter keywords in the industry-standard format, to the extent there is one. If there’s not and it’s important to you, enter it twice (both ways).
  • Employers can include up to 10 keywords on a job posting AND have the option to require job seekers match one or all of them.
  • Keywords can be a max of 20 characters long so think concise. “Early Childhood Prog” probably won’t get you what you want.
  • Use the “View Examples and Top 10 Keywords” link. This will help you understand what others have entered and what you might expect based on what you’re entering.

Feel free to comment on this post if you have questions.

As always, good luck.