Texas unemployment rose slightly in September, the fourth straight month of higher jobless rates, even as job growth in the state picked up, according to reports Friday.
The Texas Workforce Commission reported that the state unemployment rate rose to 4.8 percent, from 4.7 percent in August, as the state added 38,300 nonfarm jobs.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said the state added 20,700 jobs in September, after a revised 26,000 jobs in August,.
Job growth has improved from earlier in the year, when the state registered near-zero growth as businesses struggled with the effects of lower oil prices and reduced drilling activity.
“Jobs continue to grow after a decline in the first quarter of the year,” Keith R. Phillips, assistant vice president and senior economist at the Dallas Fed, said in a statement. “The recent momentum in jobs and the slight gains in the Texas Leading Index suggest Texas will continue to grow at a pace of about 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter.”
The Dallas Fed’s Texas Leading Index data now calls for 1.2 percent growth for 2016, suggesting that 142,300 jobs will be added in Texas this year.
Texas unemployment remains below the U.S. level, which was 5 percent in September.
The Amarillo and Austin-Round Rock areas tied for the lowest unemployment rates statewide in September at 3.5 percent. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area had the highest jobless rate in Texas last month at 8 percent, commission officials said.
The service sector created the most jobs, with the biggest gains coming in the leisure and hospitality industries, where 17,900 jobs were added. Construction added 3,400 jobs, while mining (including the oil and gas industry) and manufacturing both registered small losses.
Among metro areas, where figures are not seasonally adjusted, Fort Worth-Arlington added 6,100 jobs, and its unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent from 4.3 percent in August.
Commission officials say the state has added 206,800 jobs over the past year.
“This continued growth in a diverse range of industries creates valuable opportunities for our state’s world-class workforce and builds on Texas’ continued success as a global economic leader,” Chairman Andres Alcantar said.
Staff writer Steve Kaskovich contributed to this report which includes material from The Associated Press.