Texas Unemployment Rate Lowest In Four Decades

Dec 22, 2017

For the second month in a row, the Texas unemployment rate reached a new low since 1976, the earliest year data is available online from the Bureau for Labor Statistics.

According to a report released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas jobless rate was 3.8 percent in November, down from 3.9 percent in October and 4.8 percent in November 2016.

Steve Nivin, an economist at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, said the state’s steady unemployment decline is part of the country’s long, slow climb out of the recession — a process that is nearing its end.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in November, down from 4.6 percent a year ago.

“I think we’re about capped out. We can’t go much lower,” Nivin said.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, Texas added more than 54,000 jobs in November.

San Antonio’s jobless rate was 3 percent in November without seasonal adjustment.

Nivin said San Antonio’s jobless rate will hold steady for the next year or so, but it’s unlikely to drop further because just about everyone has a job except people looking for a career change.

“It’s hard to draw too much from month-to-month fluctuations, but it’s still very clear that the San Antonio economy is strong and continues to be strong,” Nivin said. “I mean, I can’t tell you exactly what the full employment rate is, but if we’re not there, we’re very close.”

He said both Texas and San Antonio are seeing consistent job growth as well as declining unemployment.

“This isn’t going to go on forever, but for right now the economy looks very good, and looks healthy. Especially in San Antonio. One of our strengths, again, is we continue to see broad-based growth, growth across a variety of different industries,” Nivin said.

Camille Phillips can be contacted at camille@tpr.org or on Twitter @cmpcamille