New data released by the Texas Workforce Commission on Friday shows that the Plano area incurred a loss of over 96,000 jobs since Feb. 2020.

This accounts for nearly 20% of the state’s aggregated loss of over 558,000 jobs in the same period.

“Texas employers continue working around the clock to open their businesses while safely serving all Texans in their communities,” said TWC Commissioner Aaron Demerson in a statement. “Even through the pandemic and unexpected winter storm, Texas remains resilient. My office continues to stand ready to assist Texas employers by providing them with relevant and useful information that will assist with keeping the Texas economic engine on track.”

When accumulating employment data, TWC and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics demarcate the Dallas-Fort Worth area into three metropolitan divisions: Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Fort Worth-Arlington and Dallas-Plano-Irving. The latter cohort includes a civilian labor force of over 2.7 million people between portions of Dallas, Collin, Denton, Hunt, Kaufman and Ellis counties.

TWC’s latest data shows that Dallas-Plano-Irving’s unemployment rate rose to 6.7%, an incremental rise from its January unemployment rate of 6.4%. While this is more than twice the optimal unemployment rate that economists identify as “full employment” (approximately 3%), it nonetheless indicates an overall steady decline of unemployment since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While more than a third of offices in the North Texas area were resuming in-person operations as recently as September, that month still saw an unemployment rate of 7.3%, while previous months such as June saw one of 8.1%.

But April and May were perhaps the most brutal months for the Dallas-Plano-Irving workforce, which saw unemployment rates of 12.6% and 12.1%, respectively. This data signified an unprecedented economic hardship for the area, as it had not experienced such high unemployment even during the Great Recession.

The area’s unemployment rate has since decreased by nearly 50%, and some officials expect statewide numbers to further decrease as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues.

“Although we saw a slight decrease in employment numbers last month, we still see strength in the Texas economy,” said TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel.

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