Texas Nearly Tops in Job Growth

Texas is second only to Florida when it comes to jobs added over the past year.  According to the newest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Texas added 406,400 nonfarm payroll jobs between September 2017 and September 2018.  That was just behind Florida's 407,300 jobs added.  It also marks the largest job growth number on record for Texas in any September-to-September period.  The Texas unemployment rate for September was at a record low 3.8 percent.

The numbers continue an economic boom that's been underway for a couple of years in Texas, following a rough patch after the sharp downturn in oil prices in 2014-15.  "When you gain 400,000 jobs in a year, think about that...that's over 30,000 jobs a month, and that's just a lot of healthy growth when you're talking about 7,000 to 8,000 jobs a week," says Ray Perryman, Texas-based economist with the Perryman Group.

Perryman tells KTRH that the diversity of the Texas economy is a factor in all of this growth.  "It's diverse growth," he says.  "It's occurring in manufacturing, it's occurring in mining--which is basically oil and gas--it's occurring in health care...it's really across a broad spectrum of industries."

Not surprisingly, the oil boom happening in Texas is still one of the biggest, if not the single biggest factor.  "Our energy sector is very strong now, and that's driving a lot of economic activity," says Perryman.  "But our health sector continues to grow, and the technology sector is doing quite well right now--there is a lot of investment taking place there."

Of course, none of this guarantees the boom will continue forever, but Perryman notes the Texas economy has underlying conditions that make it more resilient to downturns.  "We do have lower taxes than many states, we have a better regulatory climate than many states, and we're pretty consistently ranked, if not the best than among the best two or three in the country for business climate," he says.

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