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Job surge pushes Texas to record-low unemployment; Beaumont-Port Arthur improvement lags behind

AUSTIN ⎯ The Texas economy reached an historic low employment rate in May, with 19,600 seasonally adjusted nonfarm positions added over the month. But the Beaumont-Port Arthur area lagged behind job growth experienced in most other areas of the state.

The Texas economy’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May 2019 set a new historic record low rate of 3.5 percent; the previous low was 3.7 percent in April. That’s the lowest since Texas started tracking unemployment in 1976.

“This month’s record low unemployment rate of 3.5% highlights the competitive strength of our Texas economy and is a testament to the hard work of our Texas employers and skilled workforce,” TWC Chair and Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs said. “Our economy is thriving across multiple industries, attracting new companies every day, showing that Texas is the best state in the nation to do business.”

Private sector employers added 277,000 jobs over the year. Private annual employment growth was at 2.6 percent in May and has held above 2.0 percent since October 2017.

“Today I am especially proud to be a Texan. Our historically low unemployment rate is excellent news for Texas workers,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “As more Texans find stable employment they are able to invest in their communities and future generations of Texas workers.”

Professional and Business Services led all major industries over the month, adding 8,100 jobs. Education and Health Services added 4,500 over the month while Construction added 3,300 jobs.

The Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area recorded April’s lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 1.7 percent, followed by the Amarillo and Odessa MSAs which recorded at 2.1 for the second lowest rate.

But Beaumont-Port Arthur’s unemployment rate of 4.5% ranked 26th among 28 MSAs. Some 167,400 of the MSA’s 175,300 members of the workforce were working. Those numbers reflect little change for Beaumont-Port Arthur since April, but improvement of a year ago. In May 2018, unemployment in Beaumont-Port Arthur was 5.6%.

The Beaumont-Port Arthur workforce itself has grown by about 2,000 since a year ago. Texans are counted among the workforce if the are employed or actively seeking work.

The Beaumont-Port Arthur MSA includes Hardin, Jefferson, Newton, Orange and Jasper counties.

Only Brownsville-Harlingen, with 4.6 % unemployment and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, with 5% unemployment, fared worse than Beaumont-Port Arthur.

Audio downloads with comments from Commissioner Alvarez on the latest labor market data are available on the TWC webpage for recent press releases. 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 TexasLMI.com.

The Texas Labor Market & Career Information Data for June is scheduled to be released on Friday, July 19, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. (CDT).