HOUSTON (Covering Katy News) - Nearly 20-thousand Houston-area teachers and school support staff returning for the new academic year boosted an otherwise lackluster September jobs report and helped push unemployment lower, according to numbers released Friday by Workforce Solutions.

Unemployment fell to 3.6 percent in September, down nearly a half-point from August.

Michelle Castrow, Strategic Planning Manager at Workforce Solutions, says with near record-low unemployment, many companies are struggling to fill job openings.

“If you have been laid off because your retail job was eliminated, it may be a good time to explore other sectors,” she said.

Overall, the region added just 6,400 jobs last month, when taking into account losses reported nine of the ten remaining industrial sectors, with most declines reflecting typical seasonal patterns.

The construction industry was the only other sector to add jobs in September, putting 4,700 people to work.

Parker Harvey, Regional Economist at Workforce Solutions, says hiring in the Construction sector is substantially above the long-term average.

”September was the best month for job growth in this sector so far this year,” Harvey said.

Employers in the Leisure & Hospitality sector shed the most jobs, down 6,600 from August, followed by Trade, Transportation & Utilities which saw 4,800 fewer jobs in September.

Harvey says most of the losses in those two sectors coincide with students returning to school, except for the Retail Trade sub-sector continues to face long-term challenges.

“There have been job losses in this sector for 12 full months,” he said, adding, “Employment losses at retail stores, particularly those selling clothing and accessories, reflects the overall trend of store closings not only in Houston, but across the U.S.” 

On November 7th, Workforce Solutions again hosts the Hiring Red, White & You career fair at Minute Maid Park.

There will be 125 employers under one roof offering jobs with pay starting at $15.00 per hour.

“We have employers looking to fill the full-spectrum of jobs, from entry-level to senior-level positions in skilled labor all the way to administrative and executive positions,” Castrow said.

Hiring Red, White & You starts at 10 a.m, following a 9:45 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony honoring our veterans and featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Joe Walsh,

“We are so excited to have Mr. Walsh join us ahead of his fundraising concert, VetsAid, the following Sunday,” Castrow added.

Additional labor market information and the detailed September report can be found at

The Texas Workforce Commission will release employment numbers for October 2019 on November 16.

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