In data just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the June unemployment rate for the College Station – Bryan Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was 5.9%, second only to Amarillo’s rate of 5.8% among Texas’ 25 official MSAs. Abilene came in third with an unemployment rate of 6.1%. For comparison, the May unemployment rate for College Station – Bryan and for Amarillo was 9.0%, and 9.1% for Abilene. The unemployment rate for the state of Texas was 8.6% in June. While the June unemployment rate for College Station – Bryan remains high, and much higher than in February pre-pandemic, the large decline from May to June points to continued improvement in the economic situation locally. At the same time, these data come from a survey mid-month, and do not yet show the impact of the Governor’s tightened restrictions on restaurants and bars.
Odessa and Beaumont-Port Arthur shared the highest June unemployment rate of 12.5%. This compares to Odessa’s May rate of 16.5%, and Beaumont-Port Arthur’s May rate of 18.2%.
Among the four major metro areas in Texas, Austin-Round Rock’s June unemployment rate of 7.3% was the lowest. The rate in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington and in San Antonio-New Braunfels was 8.3%, and 9.6% in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland.
There are also positive developments on the employment side. Between May and June the (seasonally adjusted) number of workers employed in College Station-Bryan grew by 10,301 workers, or by 8.8%. At the same time, the local number of unemployed fell by 3,524, and stood at 7,964 in June. Thus, the falling unemployment rate is a combination of a reduced number of unemployed but an even larger rise in employment. The local labor force expanded.
Since January, the number of employed workers in College Station-Bryan is down 4.3%. This is the lowest decline among the Texas MSAs. Waco had the second lowest percent decline in employed workers between January and June at 5.5%. As was the case last month, the MSAs that saw the largest employment declines were Midland and Odessa, with declines of 14.5% and 12.3%, respectively.
The unemployment rate for the state as a whole has improved since April when the rate was 13.5%. The unemployment rate dropped slightly in May to 13.0%, and dropped further in June to 8.6%. The unemployment rates statewide and in MSAs remain high but continue to move in the right direction. The local College Station-Bryan MSA retains its traditional position as having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state.