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Monthly Update: Employment

October '20
Published on 11/23/20
Monthly Update: Employment

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Metro Houston added 38,700 jobs in October, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. This brings the number of total jobs recovered since April to 176,600, amounting to 50.4 percent of the jobs that were lost.  Houston remains 173,600 jobs short of its pre-pandemic employment level.

Four sectors have recouped all jobs shed in March and April and their employment now exceeds pre-pandemic levels. Those sectors are transportation and warehousing; utilities; finance and insurance; and professional, scientific and technical services.

Four sectors continue to lose jobs—energy, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and information.

Three sectors are well on their way to recovery, having recouped 85 percent or more of the jobs lost. Those sectors are retail trade, administrative and support services, and educational services. Retail is benefitting from hiring associated with the holiday season and will likely relinquish its gains after the first of the year.

October is always a good month for job growth in the region. Only three times in the last 20 years has the region logged net losses for the month. This October, gains were especially robust. The average gain over the past 20 years has been 13,700 jobs; over the past 20 years, 22,000 jobs. The additions were widespread, with several sectors adding 4,000 or more jobs:

•    Restaurants and bars (5,600 jobs)
•    Professional, scientific, and technical services (5,000)
•    Local educational (i.e. school districts, community colleges) (4,700)
•    Construction (4,400)
•    Transportation, warehousing, and utilities (4,400)
•    Employment services (i.e., contract workers) (4,200)
•    Other Services (i.e., personal care, appliance and equipment repair) (4,000)

These gains were offset by significant losses elsewhere:

•    Other services (-5,400 jobs), 
•    Health care and social assistance (-3,400), 
•    Financial activities (-2,400),
•    Wholesale trade (-2,200) and
•    Arts, entertainment, and recreation (-1,700).

As expected, federal payrolls shrank by 4,000 as work on the 2020 Census wound down and temporary hires brought on to assist with canvasing were laid off. 

Prepared by Greater Houston Partnership Research

Patrick Jankowski, CERP
Senior Vice President, Research


Employment Key Economic Indicators
38,700 jobs

Metro Houston added 38,700 jobs in October 2020

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