Houston’s economy added 38,700 jobs in October and the not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for October dropped to 7.7-percent from 9.6-percent in September, according to data released this morning by Workforce Solutions. The statewide unemployment rate also improved to 6.9-percent from September’s 8.3-percent, aligning the state’s rate with the national unemployment rate of 6.9-percent.
The primary drivers of (NSA) growth for October included increases in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities, which added 7,800 jobs. Gains in this sector related to the start of the holiday season are typical although this October they are partially magnified due to significant losses earlier in the pandemic. Professional and Business Services was the second-largest gaining sector over the month up 7,500 jobs. Leisure and Hospitality was the third-largest gaining sector continuing its recovery adding 5,800. In addition to the top-3 drivers of the over-the-month job growth in October, Construction also saw an increase over the month up 4,400 jobs, or 2.0 percent.
“October marks the start of temporary increases in payrolls related to the holiday season, and the monthly jobs report reflects this,” said Workforce Solutions Economist, Parker Harvey. “While the top three sectors were the primary drivers, many other sectors experienced gains as well, including Other Services such as salons and dry-cleaners, which rose 4-percent.” Harvey further explained, “265,523 individuals were unemployed in Houston in October, and this is down from September’s 332,292 but up from 124,867 in October 2019. Although this month’s unemployment rate is an improvement, it is still more than double compared to 3.6-percent in 2019. We remain cautiously optimistic as an uptick in COVID-19 remains the deciding factor in businesses opening or scaling back re-opening efforts.”
“As the job market continues to evolve due to the pandemic, Workforce Solutions continues to expand its service offerings to meet the unique needs of the community and job candidates,” says Michelle Castrow, Strategic Manager with Workforce Solutions. “Workforce Solutions has been working with job candidates and the community to raise awareness of our countless online tools and other virtual services as everyone continues to live, work, and do business more remotely than in-person.” She adds, “Since June, 791 employers have connected with 15,593 job candidates in 41 virtual job fairs. Workforce Solutions’ weekly events will resume after the Thanksgiving holidays. Go to www.wrksolutions.com/calendar to see the full schedule.”
To connect with Workforce Solutions, call 1-888-469-JOBS  or go online to www.wrksolutions.com.
Additional labor market information including the detailed October report can be found at wrksolutions.com/localstats. The Texas Workforce Commission will release employment data for November on December 18, 2020.