Job growth slowed to a trickle in Texas in February, according to two reports released Friday, as the downturn in the oil industry continues to take a toll statewide.
The Texas Workforce Commission said the state added just 2,100 nonfarm jobs in February, after adding 31,400 in January. And the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said its analysis shows the state added 4,500 jobs in February, compared to a revised 23,700 in January.
Based on the February data, economists at the Dallas Fed revised downward their forecast for 2016 job growth to 0.7 percent, suggesting that the state will add 88,400 jobs this year.
“Declines in energy prices early this year and continued strength in the dollar loom large on recent and future growth in the Texas economy,” said Keith R. Phillips, senior economist at the Dallas Fed. “Over the past three months, there was a broad-based decrease in the leading index components suggesting weakness in the Texas economy going forward.”
Nationwide, payrolls rose in 36 states in February and the unemployment rate dropped in 22. California led the nation with an almost 40,000 increase in employment, followed by a 25,100 advance in New York, figures from the Labor Department showed Friday. Jobless rates in New Hampshire and South Dakota were the lowest in the nation at 2.7 percent.
In Texas, goods-producing industries, including oil and gas production and manufacturing, lost 18,700 jobs while service-providing industries gained 20,800 jobs, the Texas Workforce Commission said. The biggest gains came in education and health services, adding 6,100 jobs, and trade, transportation and utilities, up 5,500.
Though smaller, the gains marked the 11th straight month of employment increases in Texas and the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent from 4.5 percent in January. That’s well below the U.S. rate of 4.9 percent.
Employment figures for the state’s metropolitan areas, which are not seasonally adjusted, continued to show gains, with particular strength in North Texas.
Dallas-Fort Worth showed 34,000 additional jobs, with the unemployment rate down to 3.9 percent in Fort Worth-Arlington and 3.6 percent in Dallas-Plano-Irving.
Amarillo showed the lowest jobless rate at 2.9 percent while McAllen-Edinburg-Mission was highest at 7.5 percent.
This article includes material from Bloomberg News and The Associated Press.