Texas Leads Nation in Job Growth for May, Says Labor Report

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The Associated Press/Alan Diaz

Texas led the nation in job creation for the month of May, also marking 23 consecutive months of employment gains, according to the latest figures from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

On Friday, the TWC released its monthly labor market report showing Texas added 34,700, nonfarm jobs during May. This was more than any other state, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ohio followed with an over-the-month job increase of 22,600. North Carolina boosted its employees by 21,600.

Texas also topped the nation in job creation over the past 12 months from May 2017 to May 2018. The Lone Star State added 352,100 private sector jobs, reflecting an employment growth rate of 2.9 percent. California upped its workforce by 306,000; Florida added 180,200.

Interestingly, in January, Keith Phillips, assistant vice president and senior economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. anticipated that, in 2018, Texas would see job creation levels rise to 3 percent, up from 2.5 percent last year.

“Texas employers continue to put the world class Texas workforce to work,” said Andres Alcantar, TWC chairman, in a press release. “Job creation is strong in Texas.”

TWC statistics showed the state’s service providing industry netted strong employment gains last month, up by 21,400 jobs, a 0.2 percent increase over April. This included 8,100 additional employees in the education and health services sector, 4,300 jobs in professional and business services, and 3,500 added to leisure and hospitality. From May 2017 to May 2018, this sector boosted its workforce by 250,700 new hires, or 2.4 percent.

Texas goods producing industries expanded by 13,300 jobs in May, a 0.7 percent increase from April. Oil and gas, listed under mining and logging, added 4,100 workers. Construction grew by 5,800 and manufacturing, by 3,400. Since May 2017, the state’s goods producers enlarged their workforces by 101,400 jobs, an overall uptick of 5.7 percent.  Of this, mining and logging experienced a 13 percent increase. Construction increased by 6 percent and manufacturing rose by 3.5 percent.

On Monday, Michael Hicks, director of the Indiana-based Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at Ball State University told the San Antonio Business Journal he foresaw steady growth would make Texas a manufacturing “powerhouse” by the mid-21st Century.

“Texas is on its way to be a manufacturing powerhouse,” said Hicks. “It just takes a long time to get there because manufacturing has a strong legacy component to it.”

CBER released its 2018 manufacturing and logistics report card last week, grading Texas above average overall in manufacturing sectors. CBER described Texas manufacturing as a $76 billion industry that accounts for 7.5 percent of the state’s economy and $1 billion of total personal income.

In December, Breitbart Texas reported manufacturing posted record gains, reaching its highest point in more than 11 years. Between 1997 and 2016, the state’s manufacturers more than doubled the nation’s economic output by 40 percent even with losses because of automation. Last year, this sector pumped $226 billion back into the state’s economy and contributed $210 billion in exports.

Regarding unemployment, the state held firm at 4.1 percent in May. The TWC found the Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) recorded the state’s lowest joblesness rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 2.1 percent, followed by the Amarillo MSA, which had the second lowest rate of 2.6 percent. Austin-Round Rock, College Station-Bryan, Lubbock, and Odessa MSAs shared the month’s third lowest unemployment rate of 2.8 percent.  Major metropolitan areas like San Antonio-New Braunfels saw 3.2 percent unemployment while Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington came in at 3.4 percent and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land experienced a 4.2 percent unemployment rate.

Nationally, unemployment inched down from 3.9 percent in April to 3.8 percent in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retail trade, health care, and construction were among the industries that trended upwards across the country.

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