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Metro Houston area added 73,800 jobs in May, a record for any month in Houston. The jump came as Governor Greg Abbott issued orders reopening the state’s economy early in the month. Despite the surge, local employment remains 276,400 jobs below its February pre-COVID level. The largest job gains occurred in accommodation and food services, retail and health care. Mining and logging (energy), professional, scientific and technical services, other services, and government continued to lose jobs. Only finance and insurance has returned to its pre-COVID employment level.
The region’s unemployment rate improved from 14.2 in April to 13.9 in May. It had been as low as 3.9 percent in February. Houston’s labor force has shrunk by nearly 170,000 workers since February. If those workers were counted among the unemployed, Houston’s rate would approach 20 percent.
Patrick Jankowski, CERP
Senior Vice President, Research
Elizabeth Balderrama, PCED
Metro Houston has added 73,800 jobs in May 2020.