The jobless rate in Texas dropped to a record low 3.8 percent in November, prompting Gov. Greg Abbott to release a statement praising the state’s economy as a model for the nation.
Meanwhile, unemployment in the Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes McLennan and Falls counties, slipped to 3.5 percent last month. That’s up slightly from 3.3 percent in October, but down from 3.9 percent in November of last year, according to figures provided by the Texas Workforce Commission and Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Though the Waco MSA enjoyed a year-over-year dip in the jobless rate, the number of residents with jobs in McLennan and Falls counties actually declined by an estimated 1,600 positions, from 118,100 to 116,500, over the past year, according to the workforce commission.
Mitigating that decline is the fact fewer people are looking for work in the Waco MSA. The civilian labor force, which includes people with and without jobs, fell by an estimated 2,100 between November 2016 and last month.
About 4,200 people in the Waco MSA were out of work in November, down from 4,700 a year earlier, the agency reported.
“The addition of 330,600 jobs over the year demonstrates the consistency with which employers in our state create job opportunities for the highly skilled Texas workforce,” workforce commission Chairman Andres Alcantar said in a press release in response to the rock-bottom state numbers.
Abbott said the record low statewide jobless rate “is a testament to our diverse and talented workforce that is attracting new businesses to the state and driving our booming economy.”
Abbott said economic prosperity does not occur by accident or chance, but is the result of low taxes and reasonable regulations applied to business and industry, according to his press release.
Seasonally adjusted figures show that fractionally more than 13 million people living in Texas had jobs in November, an increase from nearly 12.8 million in November a year earlier. An estimated 100,000 fewer Texans were without jobs last month compared to November 2016.
Nationally, the jobless rate hit 3.9 percent in November, down half a percent from a year earlier. About 2 million more Americans have jobs.
A separate report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed the Waco MSA showed a 1,300-job decline when residents of McLennan and Falls counties, as well as commuters from outside those counties, are counted.
The declines were most severe in professional and business services, down 800; leisure and hospitality, down 400; education and health services, down 200; construction, down 100; and trade, transportation and utilities, also down 100.
Local builders and contractors have expressed frustration over their inability to find skilled workers, a problem that could become more acute as more subdivisions appear on the drawing board for 2018, said Scott Bland, president of the Heart of Texas Builders Association.
Leisure and hospitality, meanwhile, could see an explosion of hiring during 2018, as work or planning continues for new hotels in Legends Crossing, Central Texas Marketplace and near South 10th Street and Interstate 35.
Around the state
The Amarillo and Midland MSAs recorded the month’s lowest jobless rate among Texas communities, at 2.6 percent, followed by the Austin-Round Rock, Bryan-College Station and Lubbock MSAs, all with a rate of 2.7 percent.
The San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA had a jobless rate of 3.0 percent.