By Sheryl Jean
Texas employment surged ahead in February as employers added 80,600 jobs — more than making up for a slow start to the year.
Update at 10:30 a.m.: That gain was the largest February job increase in Texas history and the largest single monthly job gain ever based on not seasonally adjusted data.
The state seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, however, inched up to 6.4 percent in February –from 6.3 percent in January — but down from 7.1 percent a year earlier, the Texas Workforce Commission reported today. The rate is well below the U.S. jobless rate of 7.7 percent for February.
All 27 Texas metro areas tracked by the Commission reported lower unemployment rates in February.
Texas’ job growth was a marked improvement from January’s 13,800 jobs gain, which the Commission today revised upward from an initial 10,400 jobs. The Texas data also coincides with accelerated job growth seen nationally in February.
“The Texas economy continues to expand and the addition of 80,600 jobs in February is good news for job seekers,” Texas Workforce Commission chairman Andres Alcantar said in a statement.
Employment grew in all 11 major industries statewide in February, led by 25,400 jobs in the professional and business services. Construction added 15,700 jobs and leisure and hospitality industries added 8,800 jobs.
“It’s good to see so many industries expanding in Texas,” said Ronny Congleton, the Texas Workforce Commissioner representing labor. He noted that particularly strong growth in constructing helps drive growth in other industries.
The private sector led the state’s job growth in February, however, government added 16,700 jobs after losing 5,000 jobs in January.
The Dallas-area jobless rate in February was 6.4 percent. The rate was 6.2 percent in the Fort Worth area.
The Midland area posted the lowest unemployment rate in February at 3.2 percent. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area had the highest rate at 11 percent.[via Dallas Morning News Blog]