Greater Houston Sheds 8,600 Jobs In July

The net job losses were much lighter than usual for a month typically dominated by short-term layoffs in education.

Greater Houston lost a net 8,600 jobs in July. But the latest numbers from the Texas Workforce Commission suggest the region's economy may have turned a corner.

July is almost always a poor month for Houston-area employment, with job losses of about 15,000. Most of those losses are temporary – teachers on 10-month contracts, who return to work at the start of the school year.

"The fact that the loss was much less than we anticipated actually shows that maybe the economy's beginning to stabilize," says Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership.

Hiring in other sectors helped offset many of the layoffs in education. The strongest gains came in professional and business services. That included gains in engineering, a field that has suffered badly from the two-year slump in oil prices.

"It looks like we may be finally at a bottom in the oil and gas industry," Jankowski says. "Now, it's a mushy bottom. But it seems like we're bottoming out, and with the bottom, there seems to be a little more optimism that things are slowly going to improve."

The region's unemployment rate registered 5.8 percent in July. That's up from 4.8 percent in May. The national unemployment rate was just under 5 percent.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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