Dallas-Fort Worth’s pandemic jobs deficit shrank to 81,600 entering 2021
The Dallas-Fort Worth area ended 2020 with 81,600 fewer jobs than a year earlier, after massive pandemic job losses, according to new data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
D-FW’s economy saw strong job gains early last year before COVID-19 forced government-mandated company closings in mid-March and took job growth off a cliff to all-time lows in the following month. The low point in April was minus 283,000 jobs.
December numbers show that north Texas outperformed most major metropolitan areas across the country in regaining jobs lost by the pandemic, and the region weathered the public health crisis better than Houston, which was also hurt by an oil bankruptcy.
But Austin, El Paso, and San Antonio – all smaller metropolitan areas than Dallas-Fort Worth – had minor job deficits in December. Austin had 11,500 fewer jobs than a year earlier, El Paso was down 14,300, and San Antonio had lost 37,200.
According to BLS data, the largest year-over-year job loss in Texas was in Houston, where the number of jobs fell by 141,300 at the end of 2019.
The only metropolitan area in Texas that created more jobs in December than the previous year was Sherman, who created 300 jobs.
The D-FW unemployment rate fell from 7.2% in November to 6.7% in December, as the Texas Workforce Commission announced earlier this month.
At the national level, economists warn, it could take some time for the unemployment rate to return to pre-pandemic levels.
“If we compare what we now see as the economic crisis with the recent financial crisis of 2008, we will see that it took us 10 years to return to the pre-2008 civilian unemployment rate of 4.7%.” Tuvana Rua, a professor at Quinnipiac University, said recently in a WalletHub study that analyzed where employment is most recovering.
Texan economists are generally optimistic that employment growth could accelerate in the second half of 2021 as COVID-19 vaccinations continue across the state. The re-spread of the virus over the winter holidays and the emergence of COVID-19 variants in the US have warned experts that recovery could be slow for several months, however.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Texas lost 580,100 jobs over the year, an annualized loss of 4.5% compared to a 1.9% increase in 2019. The state’s unemployment rate fell from 8.1% in November to 7.2% in December, according to the TWC.
The Dallas Fed expects Texas employers to create 518,000 jobs this year.