State adds jobs in May but Valley still lagging

Jun. 19—HARLINGEN — Texas added 74,200 total non-agricultural jobs in May, marking the seventh straight month of setting new employment highs.

But in the Rio Grande Valley, persistently high jobless rates continued for the month, with upticks in unemployment seen in the Brownsville-Harlingen Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA.

The Brownsville-Harlingen jobless rate showed an increase from 5.9 percent in April to 6.1 percent in May. A year ago, the rate was 8.1 percent.

In the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA, the May unemployment rate was 6.9 percent, up from 6.8 percent the previous month. A year ago the rate was 9.1 percent.

This means that once again the Valley MSAs rank among the highest unemployment rates in the state, with McAllen-Edinburg-Mission at the bottom with Beaumont-Port Arthur sandwiched between at 6.5 percent.

Statewide, the Leisure and Hospitality sector gained 27,600 jobs over the month. Professional and Business Services added 15,300 positions, followed by Trade, Transportation, and Utilities employment, which grew by 11,700 jobs.

Three major industries surpassed their pre-COVID employment levels for the first time in May 2022 — Construction, Manufacturing, and Leisure and Hospitality. This brought the total to eight industries that have recovered from the pandemic-related downturn, joining Trade, Transportation, and Utilities, Information, Financial Activities, Professional and Business Services, and Education and Health Services.

The Amarillo and Austin-Round Rock MSA recorded May's lowest unemployment rate at 2.7 percent, followed by College Station-Bryan at 2.9 percent and Lubbock at 3.0 percent.