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Dallas Fed: Texas Loses 1,200 Jobs in February; State Employment Forecast Falls to 2.3 Percent for 2017

For Immediate Release: Mar. 24, 2017

DALLAS— Texas lost 1,200 jobs in February, according to seasonally adjusted and benchmarked payroll employment numbers released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

The state added a revised 55,700 jobs in January. Texas jobs have grown 2.7 percent year to date in 2017 after rising 1.7 percent in 2016.

Incorporating February employment and new Texas Leading Index data, the Texas Employment Forecast stands at 2.3 percent growth for 2017, suggesting 284,700 jobs will be added in Texas this year. The forecast was revised downward from the Bank’s estimate of 2.7 percent growth that was released earlier this month.

“Although jobs declined slightly in February, the strength in January puts growth for the first two months of this year at a healthy 2.7 percent,” said Keith R. Phillips, Dallas Fed assistant vice president and senior economist. “Along with the steady increase in the Texas Leading Index, this suggests that growth will rise above the state’s long-term average of 2.1 percent this year. Last year, job growth in the state was 1.7 percent.”

The components of the Texas Leading Index were mostly positive over the three months through February, with significant contributions coming from declining initial claims for unemployment insurance, increases in drilling permits for new oil and gas wells, and a strengthening of the outlook for the national economy.

“Improvement in the energy sector is helping manufacturers that sell to this industry, and some weakening in the value of the dollar in February is reducing the strains on Texas exporters,” Phillips said. “During the first two months of 2017, mining employment jumped at an annualized pace of 13.4 percent, and manufacturing jobs increased 6.2 percent.”

Unemployment rates rose in eight of nine major Texas metro areas in February, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from the Dallas Fed. Unemployment fell slightly in the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission metro area.

The Dallas Fed improves Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) payroll employment estimates for Texas by incorporating preliminary benchmarks into the data in a more timely manner and by using a two-step seasonal-adjustment technique. Texas metropolitan-area unemployment rates from the BLS also are seasonally adjusted by the Dallas Fed.

The Dallas Fed releases its Texas Employment Forecast on a monthly basis in conjunction with the release of monthly Texas employment data. The forecast projects job growth for the calendar year and is estimated as the 12-month change in payroll employment from December to December.

For information on the methodology for the Bank’s Texas Employment Forecast, visit the Dallas Fed’s website.

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Media contact:
Jennifer Chamberlain
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Phone: (214) 922-6748
E-mail: jennifer.chamberlain@dal.frb.org