Texas adds jobs again, regains COVID losses

Nov. 20—HARLINGEN — Texas added 49,500 non-farm jobs in October as the state's jobless rate continued at 4% for the month, the Texas Workforce Commission reports.

Overall, non-farm employment in the state was 13,630,000, and October marked the 12th straight month of overall record employment.

In the past year, Texas has added 694,200 positions.

Texas also has rebounded more quickly from the pandemic employment downturn compared to the rest of the country, TWC officials said.

In 10 of 11 major industries, Texas has surpassed the U.S. recovery rates in employment with the exception being construction, where the state lags behind the overall U.S. recovery rate at 100.3% of pre-COVID employment compared to the U.S. rate of 101.3%.

Mining and Logging is the only category where post-COVID employment levels are less than they were prior to the pandemic, although TWC officials noted the sector did add 3,300 new jobs in October.

Mining and Logging is at 95.7% employment compared to its pre-COVID levels. The U.S. recovery rate in this category stands at 92.4%.

"With the growth this month we have exceeded our February 2020 employment count by 653,800 jobs," said Mariana Vega, director of labor market information for TWC, at a press briefing Friday.

"We have recovered at 105.1 percent of our pre-COVID levels," she added. "Just for comparison, the U.S. has recovered at 100.5 percent."

The two Valley Metropolitan Statistical Areas showed sharp drops in the unemployment rate in October but still rank among the highest in the state.

The Brownsville-Harlingen MSA came in at 5.6%, down from 5.8%, and the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA was 6.1%, down from 6.8% in September.

The Beaumont-Port Arthur MSA for October was 5.9%, down from 6.3%.

The Amarillo and Austin-Round Rock MSA recorded the lowest unemployment rates among Texas MSAs at 2.8% in October, followed by Midland at 2.9%, and College Station-Bryan and Lubbock both at 3.1%.

The U.S. jobless rate in October was 3.4%, up from 3.3%.