The latest jobs report shows new highs in Texas employment.
The report released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission shows the state added 40,000 nonfarm jobs in September 2022. The latest figure is more than double the number of jobs added in August, according to Labor Commissioner Julian Alvarez.
On Friday, the state’s unemployment rate was around 4%.
“More people are working today than ever before in our great state,” Commissioner Alvarez said Friday.
Mike Davis, professor of economics at SMU Cox School of Business, explained that the number of “added” jobs is defined as the number of people who took jobs.
“People who weren’t working before are working now. That’s a good way to think about it,” Davis said. “It looks like we’ve added 25,000 to 26,000 in the leisure and hospitality sector. So more than half of the jobs have been added.
For nearly two years, the leisure and hospitality industry has been recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Davis notes that there are still lingering challenges with hiring.
“Foodservice, leisure and hospitality more generally… in many ways they are stuck between a rock and a hard place,” he said. “The kind of work they ask employees to do is just hard work. That’s why you should always be nice to your server, they work very hard. Many of these businesses, especially restaurants, simply don’t have the flexibility to offer much higher salaries. They are also squeezed on the revenue side.
Brandon Hurtado, owner of Hurtado Barbecue, understands the challenges many restaurateurs face. Hurtado Barbecue opened its third location in Fort Worth last month, which is the first new location to open since 2020.
“If you asked me two years ago if we would have two locations, I would say no,” Hurtado said. “Three, definitely out of the question.”
One of the unique challenges of hiring a barbecue restaurant is that it’s not full service, he added.
“We don’t have servers. People expect a higher fixed salary. They have higher hourly costs, you know? It’s really difficult for us to try to maintain when the barbecue margins are so thin that they are,” he said. “We are constantly hiring. Each restaurant is constantly hiring. Not because there’s a lot of turnover, but people have different schedules. Different time commitments.
Along with the right skills, Hurtado said his staff members are what keep the business running smoothly.
“Our people here are what make the company special,” he said.