The Texas economy continues to soar. The Lone Star State led the nation with 34,700 nonfarm jobs added in May, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. That marks 23 consecutive months of job growth, as the state's unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent. The leading sectors for job growth were education and health services with 8,100 new jobs, construction with 5,800 jobs added, and professional and business services with 4,300 new jobs.
So far, Texas job growth for 2018 is on par with lofty forecasts made at the beginning of the year, based on continued growth in several key sectors. "You're seeing hiring in business services and health and education services, but you're also seeing construction, and of course the mineral sector is growing a lot," says Texas economist Ray Perryman. "All of the major urban areas are seeing growth right now, plus the oil patch areas like Midland-Odessa are seeing growth, so it's really a pretty broad-based economic expansion that's going on in Texas right now."
In Houston, the unemployment rate is at 4.2 percent, slightly above the statewide rate. But overall the local economy is strong. "Houston has a three-pronged economy in terms of its big drivers---energy, the Port (of Houston), and the health and medical complex---and all of them are doing pretty well right now," says Perryman.
According to U.S. Labor Bureau statistics, Texas also leads the nation in jobs added over the past 12 months, with over 352,000 new jobs during that time. And those opportunities are spread widely across the state. "If you want to be in the oil and gas area as a field worker, you should be out in the Permian Basin...if you want to be in the electronics field, you should probably be in Austin...if you want to be in healthcare, you should be in Houston or San Antonio...and the Dallas-Fort Worth area if you want to be in the financial sector," says Perryman