Houston's higher unemployment rate reflects economic growth, experts say

Nick Natario Image
Saturday, June 8, 2024
Houston's higher unemployment rate reflects economic growth, experts say
Houston's unemployment rate is above the national average, according to the latest job report, but one expert says there's no need to worry.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The latest national jobs report shows strong numbers, but they're still not great for one group, and the figures could mean it'll cost you more to borrow money.

Houston's unemployment may have been higher than the national average, but it's not necessarily bad news

For the last 2.5 years, the national unemployment rate has been at 4% or less. This statistic continued Friday with the latest jobs report.

The federal government said the labor market hasn't experienced this in more than 50 years. Locally, it's been a different story.

The unemployment rate has been above 4% for much of the past year. Economists said it could be because industries like oil and gas are doing better.

They say, though the rate has been higher than the rest of the country recently, you shouldn't worry.

"It could be the fact that a lot of people are coming to Texas and looking for jobs," Fiscal Insights founder Jorge Barro explained. "It may sound counterintuitive, but that could just be a sign of the economic growth and opportunity that we have in the state of Texas."

Here are what industries are hiring the most both locally and across the country

The latest state jobs report shows that government jobs are surging. So are construction jobs.

Mining and logging, which includes oil and gas, are also doing well. Lastly, private education is creating many jobs.

Nationally, it's different. Health care and government jobs led the latest report.

Leisure, hospitality, and professional services are doing well too, and may be doing too well.

Because of the amount of jobs, and the cost of goods remaining high, economists said the cost to borrow money may not go down anytime soon.

"I think the federal reserve is going to interpret that as an opportunity to maintain higher interest rates and a reason to believe that the economy might running just a little bit hotter than what would consistent with a lower inflation rate," Barro said.

Now, this is mainly for new purchases. If you already own a home or car, unless your rate changes, you're probably locked in. As far as the local unemployment rate, let's show you how certain areas are doing.

The highlight of unemployment is in Baytown and Pasadena. Houston is right in the middle.

The lowest unemployment rates are in Friendswood and Pearland.

Teen unemployment rate continues to be high as school lets out for the summer

Teenagers, though, continue to have a high unemployment rate. The latest report shows it's at about 12%.

For white teens, it's about 11%. For Black teens, it's closer to 14%.

Although school is out, it doesn't mean it's too late for summer jobs. Workforce Solutions has an $8 million grant to help teens land a paid internship.

"A lot of times we learn things in the classroom, but you're actually able to apply those facts and knowledge and you have a job and you apply it in the real world," Workforce Solutions executive director Juliet Stipeche said. "Then, you're able to meet new people. You're able to explore new parts of town. You're able to have money in your wallet."

If you want to learn more about the paid internship program, you can visit any Workforce Solutions location, or contact the ABC13 hotline powered by Workforce Solutions at 713-243-6663.

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