Unemployment in Texas fell below 4% for the first time since the pandemic closed

Texas continued its 14-month streak of record employment in December, according to the Texas Workforce Commission report Friday. And the state’s unemployment rate fell to 3.9%, falling below 4% for the first time since forced business closures at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Texas employers added 29,500 non-farm payroll jobs in December, according to TWC. Jobs in education and health accounted for more than 40% of that figure with 12,700 jobs, leading to a rise in jobs last month. Financial services and manufacturing also added 6,300 and 5,500 jobs, respectively.

In total, there are over 13.7 million non-agricultural jobs in the state.

Texas also saw significant job growth throughout most of 2022. From November 2021 to November 2022, Texas ranked second in the nation for the increase in total nonfarm employment with 657,600 jobs, a 5.1% increase, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report. . California led the nation with the addition of 675,000 jobs.

“Texas is leading the nation in offering businesses the freedom to thrive and grow,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news release. “We live in a state of endless opportunity, and in the upcoming legislative session, we will continue to work together to keep Texas as the land of opportunity.”

But economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas have noted since September that Texas has been in an economic downturn, most recently citing a slowdown in job growth, output and inflation in the state.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar told the Texas Tribune that he also expects a mild recession in 2023, although he warned that the Federal Reserve’s efforts to curb inflation nationally could exacerbate it.

The Texas Tribune is a non-partisan, member-supported newsroom that informs and engages Texans about state politics and politics. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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