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Texas employment surpassed pre-pandemic record in November

A man walks by a "Now Hiring" sign.
LM Otero
Associated Press
The Texas jobless rate has fallen for seven consecutive months.

Employment in Texas hit a new high in November, surpassing the previous record set before the onset of the pandemic in February 2020. The Texas Workforce Commission reported on Friday that statewide employment totaled 12,998,200 nonagricultural jobs last month, which is nearly 30,000 more than the previous high.

Governor Greg Abbott touted the news in a statement.

"Texas continues to reach unprecedented milestones thanks to our unwavering commitment to economic freedom and our young, skilled, growing, and diverse workforce," he said.

The unemployment rate also continued its downward trend, falling by 0.2 percentage points from a month earlier to 5.2%. The state added 75,100 nonagricultural jobs last month, marking gains in 18 of the last 19 months.

According to the TWC, the Professional and Business Services industry gained 22,900 jobs in November. Leisure and Hospitality positions increased by 12,500. Both industries experienced significant declines in employment during the pandemic and have seen workforce numbers grow by more than 11 percent over the past year.

“Texas continues to be the top destination to do business, and the record-setting job growth we’ve seen month after month shows employers are committed to growing their footprint in our great state,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Aaron Demerson.

The Texas jobless rate has fallen for seven consecutive months and come a long way from the pandemic-driven peak of 12.9% set in April 2020, but it still remains higher than the national jobless rate, which dropped to 4.2% in November.

Among the state’s largest metropolitan statistical areas, Amarillo once again maintained the lowest unemployment rate at 3.1%, down from 3.3% a month earlier. The highest jobless rates remained in the Beaumont-Port Arthur and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission at 7.4% and 7.7% respectively.

Joseph Leahy anchors morning newscasts for NPR's statewide public radio collaborative, Texas Newsroom. He began his career in broadcast journalism as a reporter for St. Louis Public Radio in 2011. The following year, he helped launch Delaware's first NPR station, WDDE, as an afternoon newscaster and host. Leahy returned to St. Louis in 2013 to anchor local newscasts during All Things Considered and produce news on local and regional issues. In 2016, he took on a similar role as the local Morning Edition newscaster at KUT in Austin, before moving over to the Texas Newsroom.