Texas adds 49,500 jobs in October as economic growth remains strong

Note: This story will be updated.

Texas added 49,500 jobs in October as the job market continued to expand, a sign the economy remains strong despite high inflation and rising interest rates.

Texas’ unemployment rate stayed at 4%, the lowest since the pandemic, the Texas Workforce Commission said on Friday.

October’s gains were slightly higher than September’s and are close to the monthly average increase over the last 12 months. Last year, Texas jobs grew 5.4%, beating the 3.6% increase for the overall US job market.

Statewide nonfarm payrolls topped 13.6 million in October, the 12th straight month that Texas has set a record high for that metric.

Professional and business services, a large category that is among the top job generators in Dallas-Fort Worth, led the job growth with 18,700 new jobs per month.

Badly hit by the pandemic, the leisure and hospitality sectors, which have rebounded sharply over the past year, grew by 11,600 jobs.

Mining and logging, which includes the oil and gas industry, continued to see strong growth with 3,300 new hires. That’s up 1.5% monthly, well above the 0.4% increase for all jobs and easily the best-performing sector over the past month.

Only one occupation lost ground: finance activities lost 700 jobs, perhaps because sharp rate hikes have led to some major layoffs at mortgage lenders.

Financial activity has been a strength in Dallas-Fort Worth, particularly during the pandemic. Despite last month’s setback, financial activities have fueled a 7.3% increase in jobs over the past year — much faster than the broader Texas and US job market

Construction continued to expand, adding 900 jobs, and the sector is up 5.6% over the past year. Growth continues despite the Federal Reserve’s steady rate hike, which has pushed 30-year mortgages down to about 7%.

As more and more homebuyers face affordability issues, builders are slamming on the brakes. Single-family housing starts in Dallas-Fort Worth fell by more than a third from the third quarter of 2021, according to a report by Dallas-based housing analyst Residential Strategies.

The information sector, which includes telecom workers and customer service representatives, added 1,500 jobs last month. The category is up 11.5% over the past year.

Education and healthcare, which consists mostly of health workers, added 1,000 jobs. The sector has slowly recovered from the pandemic as more people return to doctors and routine checkups. Total employment increased by 4.9% last year.

Unemployment rates remained low across much of the state. Among major Texas cities, Austin and Amarillo had the lowest rates: 2.8%, not seasonally adjusted. Dallas-Plano-Irving had a comparable rate of 3.3% and Fort Worth-Arlington 3.4%.

Among major cities with the highest unemployment, not seasonally adjusted: McAllen’s rate was 6.1% in October and Beaumont’s was 5.9%, the Texas Workforce Commission said.

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