Texas markets

Houston, Texas labor markets continue to add jobs at a healthy pace

Houston employers added jobs for the 15th straight month in May as the local economy continued to grow, despite rising prices and interest rates.

The region gained nearly 16,000 jobs last month after adding more than 20,000 jobs in April, when it finally recovered all the jobs lost during the short but deep spring 2020 recession, employment in Houston has increased by more than 180,000 jobs over the past year, growing at a torrid pace of 6%, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Friday

Houston’s unemployment rate fell to 4.3% in May from 6.4% a year earlier.

“May has the distinction of being another remarkable but unremarkable month,” said Parker Harvey, senior economist at Workforce Solutions, a regional workforce development agency. “Remarkable in that this is another record month for job growth. Nothing remarkable in the sense that it’s another month that seems almost too good to be true.

Hiring has been strong statewide. Texas added more than 74,000 jobs in May, pushing overall employment to a new record of nearly 13.4 million jobs. Over the past year, Texas has added more than 760,000 jobs, with job growth of about 6%. .

The state’s unemployment rate slipped to 4.2% from 4.3% in April. The national unemployment rate was 3.6% in May.

The labor market has been resilient in recent months, even as inflation, soaring energy prices and rising interest rates have weighed on consumer spending. While the economy has shown signs of slowing — retail sales and home sales are down nationwide — the labor market has forged ahead. The US economy added 390,000 jobs last month.

Employment, however, is a lagging indicator, and economists expect job growth to slow and unemployment to rise as sharply higher interest rates work their way through. the economy. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its key short-term interest rate by three-quarters of a point – the biggest increase since 1994 – and signaled it would raise rates aggressively to keep inflation under control.

That prospect, however, has raised fears the Fed could tip the economy into recession, triggering a sell-off in financial markets and sending stocks down more than 20% from their January peak – a bear market. .

yin and yang

Houston’s economy has benefited from soaring oil and natural gas prices due to the concentration of energy companies here, offsetting some of the impact on consumers and consumer spending. With oil and gas companies reporting billions of dollars in profits, the sector has added about 8,000 jobs locally over the past year, an increase of about 14%, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

The leisure and hospitality industry, which includes bars, restaurants and hotels, led local job gains over the past year, creating more than 36,000 jobs. Construction added nearly 24,000 jobs during the year, education and health care about 23,000 jobs and professional and business services about 21,000.

Manufacturing, which is closely tied to energy here, added about 10,000 jobs in May compared to May 2021.