Released on May 22, the latest jobs report from the Texas Workforce Commission indicates that Houston unemployment was 4.0 percent for April, a decline of 0.6 percentage points over the past year. This is below the state’s overall unemployment rate of 4.2 percent, which was down 1 percentage point from this time last year. The number of nonfarm Houston jobs decreased by 400 since March. Over the past month, Texas added 1,200 jobs across the state, bringing the total number of jobs to 11,754,600, a 2.5 percent increase from last year.
Job growth and the decline in Houston unemployment are reassuring signs, but the current Houston jobs market is competitive for hiring firms. That’s why it’s still important that organizations make wise employment decisions. According to Robert Vaughn, branch manager for Robert Half Technology in Houston, “Aside from a dip in oil- and gas-based industries hiring, the rest of the market has been hiring aggressively. The unemployment rate in IT is less than two percent in most fields.”
Even though the professionals businesses seek may be in short supply, when companies find them, there’s still a strong need to make sure candidates are a good fit with the work environment. People who turn out to be poor hires can be very disruptive to an organization. A recent Robert Half survey asked chief financial officers (CFOs) what they considered to be the costliest part of a bad hire. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the money. Overall, 39 percent of respondents cited lower staff morale as the biggest concern, while 34 percent cited lost productivity.
To make better hiring decisions, employers should consider the types of interview questions they need to ask and learn how to interpret a candidate’s answers. It also pays to check references and, for the right candidate, ensure that you make an irresistible job offer.
What are your thoughts on the latest Houston jobs report and the decline in Houston unemployment? Share them in the comments.