Texas employers added 31,400 jobs in January and the statewide unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent in January, down from a revised 4.6 percent in December, the Texas Workforce Commission said Friday. That remains below the U.S. rate of 4.9 percent.
Service industries were responsible for the gains, with the education and health sector leading the way. Goods-producing industries showed a slight decline with job losses in the construction and mining, or oil and gas, sectors.
“Texas employers added 187,400 jobs over the past year, highlighting the diversity of our economy,” commission Chairman Andres Alcantar said in a statement. “Texas Workforce Solutions continues to work with our education partners to ensure Texans have the in-demand skills required to boost job creation.”
In North Texas, job gains on the Dallas side of the Metroplex continue to outpace the Fort Worth side. Figures that are not seasonally adjusted show the Dallas metro area adding 52,400 jobs since January 2015, compared with 10,900 on the Fort Worth side. Unemployment in January was 4.0 percent in January in Fort Worth-Arlington and 3.7 percent in Dallas-Plano-Irving.
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According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Fort Worth job growth was uneven in 2015, ending the year up 0.5 percent, while Dallas jobs gained steadily and added 4.5 percent.
Economists have said the decline in oil and gas prices has hit the Fort Worth side of the Metroplex harder. Statewide, the oil bust slowed job growth in Texas to 1.6 percent over the past 12 months. The mining and logging category, which includes the oil and gas industry, lost 61,800 jobs, down nearly 20 percent, in the last 12 months.
Amarillo had the lowest unemployment rate among the state’s metro areas, 3.0 percent, followed by Austin-Round Rock (3.2 percent) and Lubbock (3.3 percent).