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Dallas Fed: Texas Adds 14,800 Jobs in March; State Employment Forecast Rises to 2.4 Percent for 2017

For Immediate Release: April 21, 2017

DALLAS—Texas added 14,800 jobs in March, according to seasonally adjusted and benchmarked payroll employment numbers released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

The state added a revised 2,400 jobs in February. Texas jobs have grown 2.4 percent year to date in 2017 after rising 1.7 percent in 2016. The monthly annualized growth rate was 1.5 percent in March.

Incorporating February employment and new Texas Leading Index data, the Texas Employment Forecast for 2.4 percent growth in 2017 suggests that the state will add 287,500 jobs by year’s end. The forecast was revised slightly upward from the Bank’s estimate of 2.3 percent growth that was released last month.

“Despite the modest growth in March, upward revisions to February job numbers put growth at a healthy 2.4 percent in the first quarter,” said Keith R. Phillips, Dallas Fed assistant vice president and senior economist. “This is only slightly below the 2.7 percent expansion we had in the second half of last year. The rise in the Texas Leading Index suggests that much of this strength will persist into the rest of 2017.” 

The components of the Texas Leading Index continued to be mostly positive over the three months through March. A strong increase in the national outlook, as measured by the U.S. leading index, led overall growth.

The Texas value of the dollar declined notably, helping state export competitiveness, while a decline in initial claims for unemployment insurance and rising permits to drill new oil and gas wells also bolstered the index. The largest drags on the index were moderate declines in help-wanted advertising and in average weekly hours worked in manufacturing.

Unemployment rates fell in six of nine major Texas metro areas in March, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from the Dallas Fed. Unemployment rose slightly in the El Paso metro area and was flat in Austin–Round Rock and McAllen–Edinburg–Mission.

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