Texas added 82,500 nonfarm jobs in June, the Texas Workforce Commission reported. This is the largest numerical increase in the nation for June.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas led the nation in June job gains, followed by Tennessee and Florida. The largest percentage increase in jobs, however, was in Tennessee (1%), compared to 0.6% in Texas.
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Texas' high job gains are partially due to increased demand. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer people went on vacations, visited restaurants and had elective medical procedures, said Angela Woellner, the press officer for the TWC.
As people return to "normal" activities, more jobs are needed to serve them. And more people are moving to Texas, Woellner said, citing a population increase of "more than 1 million people from June 2019 to June 2022."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Texas as of July 1, 2021, was roughly 29.5 million people. As more people move to Texas, businesses are expanding and hiring more employees to meet increasing demand, Woellner explained.
More people are returning to work after the height of the pandemic. Woellner said that in April 2020, Texas' labor force participation rate was 59.8%, compared to 63.8% this June. A labor force participation rate is the percentage of civilians age 16 and older who are employed or actively looking for work and do not live in institutions.
Unemployment steadily decreases
Texas' unemployment rate was 4.1% in June, a one percentage point decrease from May. The state's unemployment rate has consistently declined since its peak of 12.6% in April 2020, the BLS reported.
But at 4.1%, unemployment in Texas was still higher than the national rate of 3.6% in June. The lowest unemployment rate in the nation was 1.8% in Minnesota, according to the BLS.
Woellner said that although many businesses have job openings, unemployed Texans do not always have the skills needed to fill open roles.
"If we look at the amount of people looking for work, and then just how many job openings there are ... technically then the unemployment rate should be zero, right?" she said.
But when Texans do not have certain skills, jobs remain unfilled. The TWC has multiple programs to help fill these gaps, including the Skills Development Fund, the Jobs & Education for Texans grant program and apprenticeship opportunities. These programs help train Texans for the workforce both on the job and in classroom settings.
On July 13, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board provided higher education institutions with $15 million for the creation, expansion and redesign of short-term vocational programs.
This article comes from our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspapers.