Texas Unemployment Rate Rises to 4.5 Percent

With an unemployment rate that has stayed below 5.0 percent for nearly two years and 238,700 jobs added in the last 12 months, Texas annual job growth rate is 2.3 percent.  The national growth rate is 0.2 percent.

“Job growth in Texas remained strong, outpacing the national trend,” said Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chairman Tom Pauken. “Despite the fact that the number of those seeking work went up this month, the Texas unemployment rate remained at historically low levels.” Texas employers added 8,700 jobs in May.

The Texas unemployment rate rose from 4.1 percent in April, to 4.5 percent in May, up from 4.4 percent a year ago. The U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in May, up from 5.0 percent in April 2008.

The Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) experienced the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 2.7 percent (not seasonally adjusted). The Amarillo and Odessa MSAs were second at 3.1 percent, respectively.

The Education and Health Services industry saw the biggest job gains with 5,400 positions added in May, for an over-the-year increase of 38,500 jobs. Professional and Business Services followed with 1,700 jobs added for an industry gain of 64,500 positions in the past year.

“Across nearly every industry, Texas employers added jobs at a stronger pace than the nation as a whole,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ron Lehman. “For example, our Natural Resources and Mining industry reached an annual job growth rate of 6.8 percent, followed by Professional and Business Services at 5.0 percent, and Leisure and Hospitality at 4.0 percent.”

Leisure and Hospitality grew by 1,300 jobs in May, adding 38,900 positions in the past 12 months, followed by Construction, which grew by 1,100 jobs this month for an annual gain of 23,300 jobs.

“The state continues to gain jobs, providing opportunities for those seeking work,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “In May, Texas recorded the largest number ever in the civilian labor force at 11.7 million people.”