According to the Houston Chronicle:
The unemployment rate in Texas held at a low 4 percent in March, just below the national average of 4.1 percent
Both Texas and the Houston area continued their streak of job gains as the state and region move past the oil bust that weighed on their growth in recent years.
Houston employers added jobs for the sixth straight month in March while the state ran its streak to 21 consecutive months of job gains. The Texas Workforce Commission reported
that Texas employers added 32,000 jobs last month while the state unemployment rate held steady at 4 percent, compared to 4.1 percent nationally. Over the past year, the state has gained more than 294,000 jobs, a growth rate of 2.4 percent, well about
the 1.5 percent growth rate nationally.
The Houston metropolitan area added 8,000 jobs in March, after gaining about 13,000 jobs in February and 9,000 jobs in January. Over the year, the region added nearly 63,000 jobs as the local unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent from 5.2 percent percent
in March 2017.
Both Texas and Houston have been lifted over the past year by the strong national economy and the recovery in the oil and gas industry. Oil, which settled at $68.38 a barrel in New York Friday, is nearly $20 a barrel higher than a year ago. Drillers have
added more than 80 rigs in Texas oil and gas field over the past year, pushing the count above 500, according to the Houston energy services company Baker Hughes.
In Houston, the sector and includes the oil and gas industry added 1,100 jobs from March 2017. Across the state, the sector added more than 25,000 jobs over the past year.
Statewide, job gains in March were broad-based, spread across 10 of the 11 major sectors tracked by the U.S. Labor Department. Job gains in Texas were led by trade, transportation and utilities, which includes retailers and added 7,500 jobs. Professional
and business services added 6,200 and education and health services 2,100.
Construction had another positive month in March, adding 3,800 jobs. Manufacturing gained 3,100 jobs.
Construction and manufacturing employment is also expanding the Houston area. Construction jobs grew by about 11,000, or 5 percent, from March 2017. Manufacturing, which is closely tied to Houston’s oil industry, added 3,700 jobs over the year, an increase
of nearly 2 percent.
Other sectors with gains over the year in Houston, included professional and business services, up 26,000 jobs or 5.5 percent; trade, transportation and utilities, up 13,300 jobs, or 2.2 percent; and education and health services, up 1,900 jobs or a half