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Dallas Fed: Texas Loses 4,400 Jobs in September Due to Hurricane’s Impact; State Employment Forecast Remains at 2.6 Percent for 2017

For Immediate Release: October 20, 2017

DALLAS—Texas lost 4,400 jobs in September, according to seasonally adjusted and benchmarked payroll employment numbers released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

The 0.4 percent decline in employment was primarily due to Hurricane Harvey, with leisure and hospitality jobs seeing the largest impact. Dallas Fed estimates suggest that October will see a rebound in jobs and that the hurricane’s effect on 2017 employment growth will be minimal.

The state added a revised 14,800 jobs in August. Texas jobs have grown 2.2 percent year to date in 2017 after rising 1.2 percent in 2016. Unemployment rates fell in all nine major Texas metro areas in September, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from the Dallas Fed.

Incorporating September leading index and employment data and adjusting for the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, the Texas Employment Forecast suggests jobs will grow 2.6 percent this year (December/December), with an 80 percent confidence band of 2.1 to 3.1 percent.

The forecast was unchanged from the Dallas Fed’s previous estimate. Based on the forecast, 310,700 jobs will be added in the state this year, and employment in December 2017 will be 12.4 million.

“Despite the overall decline in September jobs, growth in areas unaffected by the hurricane was quite strong and offset much of the decline in Houston and the Gulf Coast,” said Keith R. Phillips, Dallas Fed assistant vice president and senior economist. “The Gulf Coast region saw a 9 percent decline—nearly 30,000 jobs—but the Austin, San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth metro areas combined grew at a strong 5.4 percent, adding 25,000 jobs. 

Adjusting for the temporary spike and subsequent decline in initial claims for unemployment insurance, the Dallas Fed’s Texas Leading Index shows a modest increase over the three months ending in September, rising 0.66 percent. The most significant drag on the index was a sharp decline in permits for drilling new oil and gas wells. Help-wanted advertising also continued to soften, lowering growth in the index. Conversely, a further decline in the Texas value of the dollar was the primary driver of growth in the index.

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