Texas unemployment rate drops to lowest level since feds began tracking it in 1976

Local News

Rig workers inspect casings that will be loaded into the well in preparation for the hydraulic fracturing process at a Chesapeake Energy drill site in Dimmit. Tamir Kalifa for The Texas Tribune

Texas’ unemployment rate continues to drop to record lows, with the state’s rate for May hitting a seasonally adjusted 3.5%, the Texas Workforce Commission announced Friday. That’s the lowest level since the federal government began collecting the data series used to calculate the rate in 1976. 

The state’s 3.5% unemployment rate breaks the record low of 3.7% Texas set last month. 

Over the month, the state added 19,600 non-farm jobs, according to seasonally adjusted data. Jobs categorized as professional and business services topped all other categories, adding 8,100 positions. Education and health services saw the second-highest rise, adding 4,500 jobs in May. 

Among more than two dozen metropolitan statistical areas in Texas, the Midland metro area recorded May’s lowest non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 1.7%, according to the Workforce Commission, while the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area had the highest rate at 5%. 

Mike Davis, an economist at Southern Methodist University, said the record low unemployment rate isn’t necessarily surprising considering “how fast the Texas economy has been growing.” Though the Cox School of Business lecturer said he stays away from predictions or forecasts, he said the overall outlook for the state looks positive. 

“There’s nothing on the horizon that gives me any reason to think that it would change,” Davis said. 

Disclosure: Southern Methodist University has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here. 

Read related Tribune coverage 

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                "Texas unemployment rate drops to lowest level since feds began tracking it in 1976" was first published at  by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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March 18 2021 03:00 pm