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Dallas Fed: Texas Adds 32,100 Jobs in February; State Employment Forecast Rises to 3.4 Percent for 2018

For Immediate Release: March 23, 2018

DALLAS—Texas added 32,100 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 39,900 jobs in January. That brings the year-to-date annualized growth rate to 3.6 percent.

Incorporating February employment growth of 3.2 percent, revised January growth and leading index data, the Texas Employment Forecast suggests jobs will grow 3.4 percent this year (December/December), with an 80 percent confidence band of 2.1 to 4.7 percent.

“Strong job growth in the past two months and overall strength in the leading index suggest that job growth will pick up this year,” said Keith R. Phillips, Dallas Fed assistant vice president and senior economist. “Energy and construction jobs have surged along with many of the large service sector industries, such as professional and business services. Growth was broad based across the major metros, with Houston in particular rebounding strongly and growing at an annualized rate of 4.7 percent so far this year.”

The Dallas Fed’s Texas Leading Index increased sharply over the three months ending in February, rising 2.1 percent.

Growth was mostly positive across the components, and the rise in the U.S. leading index and a decline in initial claims for unemployment insurance were the largest positive contributors to the index. Modest increases in well permits, inflation-adjusted oil prices and average weekly hours worked in manufacturing also bolstered the index. Despite a sharp decline in the Texas Stock Index in February, the three-month change remained slightly positive. Only help-wanted advertising contributed negatively to the index.

Unemployment rates ticked up in five of the of the nine major Texas metro areas but were even in the remaining areas in February, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from the Dallas Fed. Rates rose in the Austin, Dallas–Plano–Irving, Fort Worth–Arlington, Laredo and San Antonio areas.

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