The unemployment rate in Texas climbed in September, rising for the first time since April as job growth plummeted sharply.
Unemployment rose 8.3 percent, higher than the percentage point from 7 percent in August, the Texas Labor Commission reported on Friday. Nationwide, unemployment averaged 7.9 percent in September.
Meanwhile, the pace of job growth, fell by more than half in a month. Employers added about 41,000 jobs, down from about 112,000 in August.
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The weaker employment report reflects a nationwide slowdown as federal stimulus programs approved by the CARES Act expire and Congress and the Trump administration remain unreachable. of spending on assistance. Meanwhile, the Texas Workforce Commission said this week that it will return job search requirements for those receiving unemployment benefits.
Ray Perryman, CEO of Perryman Group, an economic consulting firm in Waco, said the slowdown is not expected to give pre-employment gains when businesses reopen after shutdowns. coronavirus was removed in May. But, he added, further delay in a stimulus package as well as barriers to workers getting relief from unemployment can be lost in recovery.
“The CARES Act, though certainly imperfect, has helped to maintain the basic structure of the economy while including the worst of the pandemic,” Perryman said. “Unfortunately, this is implicitly based on the assumption that dislocations will only require assistance for two to three months.”;
The unemployment rate in Houston also rose in September, rising to 9.6 percent from 7.6 percent in September, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Houston had nearly 24,000 jobs last month, but the total number of payroll jobs in the region, less than 3 million, is still down nearly 5 percent from a year, according to government data.
Much of the local gains have been attributed to the reopening of schools, not the broader economic improvement, said Patrick Jankowski, a leading economist in the Greater Houston Partnership, a business-funded economic development team. Employers who can retain workers through the federal small business program, the Paycheck Protection Program, dismiss workers as money runs out, he said.
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“The stimulus package passed in the spring is exhausted and it shows in the data, “Jankowski said.
Major sectors in the region continue to struggle. Manufacturing and construction work fell 10 percent during the year. Oil and gas employment is less than 11 percent.
Keith R. Phillips, senior economist at the Dallas Fed, said he expects the state to continue to add jobs over the rest of the year even at a slow pace. But that forecast, he added, depends on the path of the coronavirus.
“Another move (by COVID) in the fourth quarter will weaken that outlook,” Phillips said. “People don’t read about it in the newspaper and are scared. They see a lot of family and friends who have it, and they worry and take care of what they do.”