Texas unemployment holds at 4.2%, but job growth ebbs

The state unemployment rate for April held steady at 4.2 percent as private-sector employment logged a slight decline, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Friday.

The state rate — the lowest since July 2007 — compares with the national rate of 5.4 percent. Texas had seven straight months of jobless rate declines through March. In April 2014, state unemployment was 5.2 percent.

Texas had added an estimated 287,000 seasonally adjusted jobs over the past year, according to the commission. But nonagricultural employment gained only 1,200 jobs in April as an increase of 1,900 government jobs made up for the loss of 700 jobs in the private sector.

Well-producing industries showed declines, with a loss of 8,300 jobs in mining and logging, which includes the oil and gas industry, and 5,400 in construction.

On the plus side, leisure and hospitality employers added 6,900 positions, and the information and trade, transportation and utilities sectors showed gains.

Amarillo had the state’s lowest jobless rate for April, at 2.7 percent, and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission had the highest statewide, at 7.3 percent. Fort Worth-Arlington was at 3.8 percent.

Information is available to help companies interested in hiring more people, officials said.

“The employers in Texas are strong and resilient and have a talented pool of workers to choose from,” TWC Commissioner Hope Andrade said. “I encourage all of our employers to take advantage of the programs we offer through the Skills Development Fund to help them create jobs and train workers with the skills needed for today’s job market.”