Job numbers continue to rise in Houston, but inflation remains a concern

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the United States gained 528,000 jobs in July, which means the country has regained all of the jobs that went away during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall, the unemployment rate in the United States is 3.5%, or 5.7 million Americans.

“There are more jobs everywhere,” said Dr. Christopher Clarke, who is an economics professor at the University of Houston. “We had to go back to 1969 to see this many jobs being created.”

But what are unemployment numbers like in the Houston area?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent information on job numbers in this area don’t cover July of this year, but they do cover June.

In June 2021, the unemployment rate in Houston was 7.1%, compared to 4.8% at the end of June 2022.

In fact, Harris, Galveston, Brazoria, Montgomery, and Fort Bend counties all saw sizeable reductions in unemployment numbers, with many of those jobs going to construction, leisure and hospitality, and transportation industries.

While reductions in unemployment are good for the economy, Clarke said it’s hard to categorize how the economy is doing due to high costs.

“Inflation is worryingly high. Some indications show it might be continuing to go high. It might be near the apex,” said Clarke. “There’s a lot of uncertainty related to inflation.”

Clarke said the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act could ultimately lead to lower prices and, along with the feds raising the interest rate, it could start to slow by the end of the year.

The most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a 10.2% inflation rate in our area from June 2021 to June 2022.

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