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Monthly Update: Houston Metro Employment

December '22, Latest Data
Published on 1/20/23

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Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Metro Houston added 16,000 jobs in December ’22, according to data released today by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). That ties with December ’12 for the fourth-best December for job growth in the past 20 years.

The region created 179,000 jobs in ’22, according to TWC. That’s the best year on record for job growth since employment records have been kept going back to the early ‘80s. The previous record was in ’21 when Houston created 159,700 jobs. 

With the December jobs report, payroll employment topped 3,356,000. Total employment now stands at a record high for the region. 

These numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, however. They are preliminary estimates based on surveys of employers that TWC conducts throughout the year. As with any survey, the results are subject to sampling, non-response, structural, interpretation, and various other errors. TWC is currently adjusting the estimates, comparing its survey data with unemployment insurance tax records that all employers must file. In March, TWC will issue its annual benchmark revisions to the data, with major revisions going back to ’21 and minor adjustments going back even further.

The revisions for ’21 and ’22 could be significant. Only seven times in the past 20 years had TWC adjusted its annual employment estimates by 10,000 or fewer jobs.

  • Five times in the past 20 years TWC has underestimated job growth by 30,000 or more jobs. The biggest miss was in ’05 when TWC lowballed growth by nearly 50,000 jobs.
  • Twice TWC has overestimated job growth by 30,000 or more jobs. The biggest miss was in ’08 when the agency shaved nearly 36,000 jobs off its earlier estimates.
  • Three times in the past 20 years, TWC reported job growth when the region was actually shedding jobs.
  • Twice, TWC has underestimated job losses. The biggest miss was in ’20 when TWC was off by over 40,000.

When TWC issues its benchmark revisions for ’22, the Partnership expects employment gains to be revised downward, perhaps by as much as 50,000 jobs. Even with a substantial revision to the data, the year will have been one of the better on record for job creation.

Prepared by Greater Houston Partnership Research

Patrick Jankowski, CERP
Chief Economist
Senior Vice President, Research
pjankowski@houston.org

Clara Richardson
Research Associate
crichardson@houston.org

Employment Key Economic Indicators
16,000

Metro Houston added 16,000 jobs in December ’22

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