By Bill Kitchens, Sam Tenenbaum, Danny Khalil, Itziar Aguirre, Justin Boyar and Paul Hendershot
Texas has seen fewer job losses compared to other parts of the country during the pandemic, as it has in previous recessions. The state is 0.9%, or 94,700 jobs, away from reaching pre-pandemic levels, based on the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, far better than the 3.3% for the United States as a whole.
Texas has gained back more than 90% of the roughly 2 million jobs lost during the pandemic, while the United States gained back 84% of the 20 million jobs lost as of September 2021.
Even so, the state’s four major markets have distinct economic makeups, making their recovery stories unique.
Dallas-Fort Worth’s employment base has essentially reached pre-pandemic levels, lending to the market’s diverse industry representation. The market is 99.9% recovered, needing 2,400 jobs to reach the official pre-pandemic threshold. Office-using segments, including the financial activities and professional and business services, are leading the employment recovery.
Hiring is expected to accelerate through the end of 2021, with the help of seasonal hiring. For instance, Amazon is looking to hire 6,500 seasonal workers in the Dallas-Fort Worth region with average starting pay of $18 per hour.
Job numbers in Houston continue moving in the right direction. The Bayou City recouped slightly more than two-thirds of the jobs lost during the pandemic, as of September. The region gained 244,200 jobs, although employment remained 115,800 jobs below February 2020 levels.
Houston could end the year with a net gain of 75,000 to 100,000 jobs, according to the Greater Houston Partnership. That would be above its long-term average of 60,000 to 70,000 jobs if the public health situation continues to improve.
Austin is one of only three large markets to have fully recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic, along with Salt Lake City and Kansas City. Austin reached its February 2020 peak employment in August’s release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Alamo City is just shy of its pre-pandemic peak employment. The market has recovered all but about 4,000 jobs lost during the pandemic, but the rebound has been uneven. Most growth has come from the professional and business services sector, which tends to drive office demand. That sector is up more than 10% since February 2020, adding nearly 15,000 jobs in the process.