The business climate just keeps changing and employers are working hard to keep up. One area that will be evolving in the weeks ahead is unemployment. Here’s what you need to know.
An Update on Extended Benefits
In June, Texas Governor Greg Abbott opted out of the federal EB program and as of the week ending September 11th, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) will stop paying extended unemployment benefits.
This is the federal EB program that paid an additional $300 per week for pandemic unemployment relief. It became available on July 5, 2020 through federal funds due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These extended benefits are available during periods of high state or national unemployment periods.
As of July 2021, the total unemployment rate for Texas was a seasonally adjusted 6.2%. High unemployment is considered anything that exceeds 6.5%.
This rate is determined by the U.S. Secretary of Labor using data from a three-month period. Pre-pandemic unemployment numbers were at 3.1% in May of 2019, so there’s still a long way to go toward recovery.
The Workforce Commission did not immediately report the number of Texans that will be impacted. However, since mid-March 2020, there have been 9.5 million claims for unemployment.
How Ending Extra Benefits Will Impact Businesses
The hope is that as individuals come off of unemployment, it will trigger more job searches and candidates in the marketplace. This is critical for businesses that have been struggling with labor shortages, especially among hourly workers who were earning more with unemployment benefits.
According to Bobby Lieb, president and CEO of the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce, he thinks more workers will be available not only due to the end of benefits but also the start of the school year. Since most children are back in school full-time, working parents don’t need to find child care and can return to their jobs. While he believes this growing demand for workers will eventually level out, it won’t happen for another 18 months.
And in fact, job openings are on the rise all across the state. According to the TWC’s Texas Labor Market Review:
- Total Nonagricultural Wage and Salary employment increased over the month in July by 80,900 jobs with 10 of 11 major industries adding jobs.
- In the 12 months ending July 2021, Total Nonfarm employment grew by 714,800 positions, as the annual growth rate increased by half a percentage point from June to 6.0 percent in July.
- July marks the fourth consecutive month that Total Nonfarm Employment achieved positive annual growth.
- Private sector employment expanded by 683,800 jobs, growing by 6.8 percent annually.
In addition, every major industry experienced a jump in job growth in recent months. For instance, Leisure and Hospitality employment grew by 20,600 jobs in July 2021. Accommodation and Food Services added 18,600 jobs and Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation added 2,000. The Professional and Business Services industry also added jobs for the 14th time in the last 15 months, while Trade, Transportation & Utilities likewise expanded for the 14th time in 15 months.
Tips for Finding Workers in a Competitive Climate
While the economic and employment situation in Texas is certainly improving, many businesses are still finding it difficult to source and hire the people they need. What are some ways you can overcome this hurdle and remain competitive? Here are some tips:
Ask for referrals from existing team members.
Your existing employees are your best source of referrals for new staff members. Reach out to them and ask if they have any referrals they can send your way.
Even better, if you don’t already have one, now’s the time to create an employee referral program. This will reward your employees who send referrals to you that you hire.
When you have a formal program in place, you’re more likely to get quality referrals. In addition, your employees will be more motivated to share your job openings and hiring needs online in their social media profiles.
Promote jobs across a range of platforms.
There are countless online sources to post your job openings on, from your own website to major job boards. Don’t forget about state sites, like WorkInTexas.com, as well as platforms that are related to your particular industry. Also share your openings on your social media profiles and channels, such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
Create hiring incentives.
In today’s competitive climate, you need to stand out from other employers to hire top talent. To do so, consider incentives like a signing bonus, money towards college debt, extra vacation days, or other benefits that will be attractive to candidates.
Work with a Houston staffing agency.
If you’d rather outsource your hiring efforts, turn to a staffing agency. They’ll have a network of both active and passive candidates you can tap into. They’ll also work to get to know your company’s culture and hiring needs to ensure they’re matching you with the best-fit professionals. Many also provide training and onboarding programs to help you get new hires up and running, faster.
Do you need help hiring new employees in the weeks ahead?
As one of Houston’s leading staffing agencies, Murray Resources is here for you. We hire for a wide range of employers, from Fortune 1000 organizations to small businesses. We can meet your staffing needs, quickly and affordably, helping you better navigate these challenging times. Simply contact us today to get started.