Texas Economy Adds 27,200 Positions in June

The Texas economy added 27,200 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in June, which marked 24 consecutive months of employment growth. Over the year, Texas added 359,500 jobs for an annual employment growth rate of 2.9 percent.

Total Nonag Annual Employment Growth (Seasonally Adjusted)

“Recognition of Texas as the premier place to do business in the country is reinforced by employers adding another 27,200 jobs in June and an impressive 359,500 jobs over the year,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “Broad-based growth across our industries remains solid with ten of eleven industries adding jobs in the dynamic and prolific job creating Texas economy.”

June’s annual growth in the state’s Goods Producing industries was strong at 5.8 percent. Over the month, Mining and Logging added 4,900 jobs, followed by the Construction industry with 2,900 positions, while Manufacturing employment expanded by 2,600 positions.

In Texas’ Service Providing sector, Professional and Business added 7,300 positions over the month, and led all industries in job growth for June.  Also within this sector, Education and Health Services added 6,000 jobs, followed by Leisure and Hospitality with a gain of 3,500 positions.

Texas-U.S. CES Seasonally Adjusted Comparison Sheet Annual Growth - June 2018

“Private-sector employment remained strong with Texas employers adding 351,700 jobs over the year and 26,400 jobs added in June,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employer Ruth Ruggero Hughs. “TWC is committed to developing innovative workforce programs and supporting Texas businesses with a skilled talent pipeline that is unmatched throughout the nation.”

View the Texas Labor Market highlights from Commissioner Ruth R. Hughs:

Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) recorded the month’s lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 2.4 percent, followed by the Amarillo MSA, which had the second lowest with a rate of 3.1 percent. The Austin-Round Rock, and Odessa MSAs recorded the third lowest rate of 3.2 percent for June.

“All Goods Producing industries showed positive employment growth in Texas, including Construction, which expanded by 2,900 jobs in June,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “The Texas labor force has continued to provide employers with the skills and expertise needed to keep the Texas economy growing.”

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.

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Helpful Info about Unemployment Benefits

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of needing to file for unemployment insurance benefits, you know it can be a little overwhelming. Job loss is one of the six most stressful life events (along with, in no particular order, moving, death, marriage, divorce, and serious personal injury), and we know trying to navigate those process-deep waters can be frustrating.

To help with that, TWC’s Unemployment Insurance division has been working on some tutorials and videos for individuals in just that situation, to hopefully make understanding the process a little easier.

Following are some resources that provide detail about unemployment benefits in general (are you qualified? how do you get them? what do you have to do to keep them? etc.), determining how much you might get, and information about how you get in and stay connected with the unemployment system online.

If you still can’t find what you need, just call TWC at 1-800-939-6631, M-F 7a-6p, and speak with a customer service rep. And remember, there is also a statewide network of workforce professionals ready to assist you with whatever job-related questions or help you might need.

And once you’ve found that new job, let them know you’re working. It just takes a minute and can be done online.

We know unemployment is no one’s goal, but if/when it happens, we hope this will help.

Job Growth

USA Today recently posted an article about the pace of job growth across the country, generally concluding that, as we’ve said before, it’s all over the place. The article is interesting but even better (more useful) is the chart they created a few years back and have been updating every month.

This chart shows national and by state, metro area, and industry, where job growth has been and is taking place, and where it’s not. This is obviously useful information to help inform job seeker decisions, particularly if you’re currently unemployed or under employed. And the really cool part is the graphic they provide that connects actual job growth for the past 4 years and projected job growth for the next 4 years. In short, if you’re trying to figure out what occupational fields are coming, going, or might be good to try to get into, this picture is worth 1000 words. The chart can be found here.

And one final factoid; Forbes recently published an article about US cities with the 20 lowest unemployment rates, and two of them were in Texas. Midland at #7 and Odessa at #18. Of course it’s easy to point to the energy industry as responsible for much of that positive story, same with South Texas, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, etc. But as our former Chairman and JFK before him were fond to point out, a rising tide lifts all boats. And of the 200 US cities with the lowest unemployment rates, 21 are in Texas.

To find jobs in these cities using WorkInTexas.com, use the Job Posting Browse-Location search option.

Next week we’ll look at 10 career fields projected to be the hottest in 2020 and how that compares to what we have in WorkInTexas.com today.

Staying Relevant, Being Informed

A recent study by the Center for PostSecondary and Economic Success found, not surprisingly, that the unemployment disproportionately affects lower-educated and minority racial and ethnic groups. You could probably add a variety of other groups to that list as well, particularly Veterans and individuals with disabilities. But who is not really the point, rather it’s the mere fact that unemployment has been so high for so long that studies like this actually mean something. And, in addition to the graphs on adults, at the bottom of the page there is also a link to a couple of charts on youth unemployment. View the study here.

But, that’s also why we have a public workforce system, to understand these types of realities and work to address them on behalf of those more disparately impacted. And it’s doing just that. More than ever before, we tout data analysis and research as the way to understand our customer base and more effectively engage with them. A 55-year-old former stay-at-home mom will look for work differently than a 25-year-old male high school dropout. And our ability to recognize and understand those differences, and then customize our services to meet their needs is one of the ways we remain a relevant and helpful public service.

The other side of the coin is working with our customers to empower them to be better, more informed job seekers by understanding the realities of the job market. There are many ways to do this, one of which is being familiar with the area in which you’re looking. Much of this type of information can be found here, on our County Narrative Profiles. These are written summaries that provide detailed information about geography, population, employment, income, education, housing,  healthcare, crime rates, etc., for every individual county in Texas. Helpful stuff if you’re thinking of moving, starting a business, or reentering the workforce after being recently separate from a job.

New Program To Help Long-Term Unemployed

The US Dept of Labor is currently working with us (state workforce agencies) to implement a new initiative aimed at reconnecting the long-term unemployed with the workforce system and hopefully quickly, the workforce. A part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 – Section 2142, this initiative will provide folks getting extended unemployment benefits some one-on-one time with a workforce professional, a re-orientation to the programs and services offered by the Texas Workforce System (TWS), an evaluation and advisement about possible career transition and training opportunities, and assistance with job search tools and techniques including WorkInTexas.com.

Some of the types of job seekers we expect to see are folks who have been unemployed so long they’re beyond frustrated with finding a job and have essentially given up; folks whose job skills have become somewhat dulled due to lack of use; and folks who came from and are still looking for work in career fields that are either losing or have lost relevance in today’s work place (VCR repair as an example).

Unfortunately none of these come as much of a surprise, but I was interested to recently read about the disproportion in unemployment between younger (49 and lower) and older (50 and over) workers, particularly those considered “long-term unemployed”, those out of work at least six months, with even 40% of those out of work for more than a year. If you’re interested, this study, done by the National Employment Law Project, can be found here.

So how does all this connect? Well, the two main things the study above identified as most glaring needs for older workers were 1) addressing their special training needs, and 2) targeted reemployment strategies. And, these are also two of the main things this new Re-Employment Assessment program will provide to long-term unemployed individuals. And because many of those are older workers, this program could be a great thing for folks who right now need a great thing.

TWC and TWS will begin outreach for this new program in mid-April.

Helpful Resources for the Unemployed

WorkInTexas.com offers a lot to folks looking for a job, but there are some things a job matching system just can’t help with. Recently the US Dept. of Labor published a list of information and websites to help workforce professionals address unique needs and employment challenges facing individuals who are unemployed. That’s not to say these sites and resources aren’t useful to anyone, but with unemployment rates still high across the country and record numbers of individuals who have been out of work for 6 months or more, it’s easy to understand why the target audience is who it is.

To help spread the word to those who might really benefit from these resources, we wanted to take a moment and link to it here in hopes that you might tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends, and so on. Obviously there are many challenges facing job seekers today, many more than we can account for here. And not to make light of any of them, but these have traditionally been some of the more common and hardest to overcome. This information will probably be most beneficial to folks with employment challenges related to the following:

  • a criminal record;
  • transportation;
  • health issues; and/or
  • domestic situations and needs.

Access the USDOL list of helpful resources here.

And for any other challenges you or someone you know might be facing, related to employment or anything else, don’t forget about 2-1-1. This resource and referral service is offered by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to the citizens of Texas 24/7/365, for free. 2-1-1 connects individuals and services provided by over 60,000 state and local health and human services programs.

Rural Unemployment

Small town America, if you could find a good sustaining job, was once the dream residential destination for many. However, over the last few decades those small towns seem to have fallen victim to foils like population migration to larger cities, manufacturing relocation to greener and sometimes far off pastures, and the overall poetic rusting of the small town American dream. Even though the Texas Workforce Commission does spend some time analyzing the differences in unemployment rates between metro and rural areas, I was still fascinated to learn that over the last year or so, two out of every three rural counties in the US actually gained jobs. This is a far cry from what other (and in many cases larger) areas were and still are dealing with.

Overall, suburban and rural areas have fared much better than their metro cousins in terms of overall unemployment rates, by almost 0.5 and 1.0 percentage point respectively. In November 2011 alone, the overall unemployment rate in Texas was 8.1%, compared to just 7.3% in Texas’ rural counties. To put that in some perspective, in Nov. 2011 Texas rural counties employed about 1.33M people, or just under 10% of the total employment force in the state. And while that’s not a large overall percentage, the fact that areas with perceived limits on their job growth potential were growing anyway was wonderful to hear. As any economist will tell you, it’s job growth with small and mid-sized employers (that make up about 85% of the total employer population) that really fuel Texas’ economic engine.

So what’s this all mean? Well, if you’re like me and assume bigger city means more opportunities, you’re probably still right. But, don’t discount small towns just because of their perception. While there might be fewer options overall, the odds of you landing one of those fewer options might actually be better. Search jobs in WorkInTexas.com by city only.

Source: Daily Yonder and Bureau of Labor Statistics