In data just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in May for the College Station–Bryan Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was 8.9%, tied with Amarillo for lowest among the states’ 25 official MSAs. Abilene came in third with an unemployment rate of 9.1%. At the other extreme, McAllen-Edinburg-Mission had an unemployment rate of 18.3%, edging out Beaumont-Port Arthur’s 18.2% as the highest in the state. The median of the 25 reported MSA unemployment rates was 12.3%.
For the largest metro areas, Austin-Round Rock had an unemployment rate of 11.6%, Dallas-Fort Worth –Arlington was 12.6%, San Antonio – New Braunfels was 13.1%, and Houston – The Woodlands – Sugarland’s rate was 14.1%.
College Station–Bryan’s unemployment rate declined from April’s (revised) 9.3% number, which was second to Amarillo. This decline is due to rising employment, as the local area added 3,513 more jobs compared to April, a 3.3% increase in one month. The number of employed in May stood at 110,953. Meanwhile, the local number of unemployed only fell by 50 to 10,890.
Compared to January, the number of employed workers in May in College Station–Bryan dropped 11.7%. While substantial by any historical standard, this was the third lowest percentage decline in employment among Texas MSAs. Only Texarkana and Tyler had lower declines. Midland and Odessa saw the largest employment declines since January at 17.8% and 17.5%, respectively.
The good news for College Station–Bryan is that employment grew. The bad news is that the number of unemployed workers hardly changed, falling less than half of one percent. And the unemployment rate, although falling, remains sky-high by historical standards. But the reopening of the economy is working, slowly, both here and in other Texas MSA’s, to gradually move us in the direction of greater economic health. We have a long way to go.