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The unemployment rates for metro Houston, Texas, and the U.S. improved last month, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). Houston’s unemployment rate slipped from 4.4 percent in March to 4.0 percent in April. Texas’ rate slipped from 4.2 percent to 3.7 percent. The U.S. rate slipped from 3.6 percent to 3.1 percent. The rates are not seasonally adjusted.
TWC publishes seasonally adjusted rates for metro areas with a one-month lag. Houston’s seasonally adjusted rate was 4.0 percent in March, down from 4.4 percent in February.
Unemployment is near a record low for Houston. Only 30 times in the past 43 years has the region recorded a lower rate. The all-time low was in March ’81 when the unadjusted rate slipped to 3.1 percent.
Among cities in the Houston metro area for which TWC publishes rates, Sugar Land had the lowest unadjusted unemployment rate in April, and Baytown had the highest rate.
Initial claims filed for unemployment benefits in the metro area have ticked up within recent weeks but are no cause for alarm. Since early March, claims have averaged 4,017 per week. In the second half of ’22, they averaged 3,751. In the 12 months leading up to the pandemic, they averaged 3,680.
The five industries in the Gulf Coast WDA with the most claims filed between April 9 and May 6 were temporary help services, pipeline construction, professional employer organizations, industrial building construction, and full-service restaurants.
Continued claims filed by workers who have been unemployed for at least a week after filing the initial claim continue to trend up, suggesting that workers who do lose their jobs are experiencing some difficulty, albeit minor, in finding new employment.
Prepared by Greater Houston Partnership Research
Patrick Jankowski, CERP
Senior Vice President, Research
Metro Houston’s unemployment rate was 4.0 percent in April '23
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