Texas Business reports: AUSTIN— The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 7.0 percent in March, marking the seventh consecutive month of decline. March’s unemployment rate was down from 7.1 percent in February, and from 8.0 percent a year ago. Texas’ unemployment rate is significantly below the national unemployment rate of 8.2 percent.
Brownsville-Harlingen and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission tied for the state’s highest unemployment rate at 10.7 percent. Midland enjoyed the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.7 percent.
Texas added 10,900 jobs in March, marking the 20th consecutive month of growth in the state’s total nonfarm employment, which now stands at 10,741,700 positions.
Texas added 245,700 jobs over the year for an annual job growth rate of 2.3 percent. Private sector employers in Texas added 8,000 jobs over the month, totaling 300,600 private sector job gains over the year for an annual growth rate of 3.5 percent.
“The Texas economy continues to show strength,” said Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) chairman Tom Pauken in a prepared statement. “We've remained below the national unemployment rate for 63 straight months, and Texas continues to show private sector job growth.”
Eight of the 11 major industries in Texas added jobs over the month. Leisure and Hospitality led the way with the addition of 6,000 jobs. Over the past year, this industry has added 49,900 jobs for an annual growth rate of 4.8 percent.
“The prospects for Texas job seekers continue to improve,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton in a statement. “We encourage those still searching for employment or affected by layoffs to contact a local Workforce Solutions Office to take full advantage of the services they offer.”
Texas’ Manufacturing industry added 2,900 jobs in March for a total of 23,700 jobs gained over the year, and an annual growth rate of 2.9 percent.
“Employment in Mining and Logging rose by 2,000 jobs in March, continuing that industry’s expansion over the last 29 months,” said TWC Commissioner Representing the Public Andres Alcantar in a statement. “TWC stands ready to assist job seekers in capitalizing on the opportunities available across our diverse industries.”
The Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had the lowest March unemployment rate in the state at 3.7 percent. The Odessa MSA came in second at 4.4 percent, and the Amarillo MSA third at 4.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted).