Local Economy Hums With Increase In Jobs

July 8th, 2019

Even as national expansion appears to be slowing down, Houston racks up numbers

Houston’s economy keeps adding jobs and lowering its unemployment rate even as the rest of the nation has begun to show signs of a slowdown in the economic expansion.

The Houston metro area in May saw among the nation’s largest decreases in the unemployment rate among large metropolitan areas, according to the Labor Department. Houston’s economy also added 79,800 jobs in May from May of 2018, one of the largest over-the-year employment increases in the nation.

The local unemployment rate hit 3.2 percent in May, down 0.9 percentage point from amonth prior, the largest decline in the nation, along with the Cleveland, Ohio metro area, which experienced the same decline, the Labor Department said.

Job gains in the Houston metro area were beat only by those in the New York area, which added 114,000 jobs from last May, and Dallas-Fort Worth, which added 107,000 jobs. Most U.S. metro areas, however, posted few job gains in May.

But while Houston employment is growing at a strong pace, concerns continue to rise about a slowing U.S. economy. In May, the nation added just 75,000 jobs, the lowest employment gains in nearly two years, and the Federal Reserve is considering the first cut in its benchmark rate since 2008.

While Houston and the rest of Texas appear to be escaping a slowdown for now, experts say it’s only a matter of time that national trends catch up with the state. In recent years, the strong national economy has supported activity in Houston and Texas, but if it weakens, it would eventually hurt economic activity here.

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