Improving job numbers
By Elsa Maxey
In the latest Texas Workforce Commission report released this past Friday, the local area’s unemployment rate in April dropped to 8 percent for the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan statistical area. The previous month, the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent, meaning that there were 13,600 more jobs in April in this area, which includes Houston.
Extrapolating Fort Bend County from the statistical grouping, the state agency reports that the unemployment rate fell from 7.8 percent in March to 7.4 percent in April. The number of new jobs added in Fort Bend County in April over the previous month was 1,025. Latest state figures show that there are a total of 262,958 persons currently working in Fort Bend County as compared to 259,683 during the same time last year.
Unemployment rates in April for the larger cities in Fort Bend County show Sugar Land at 6 percent, Missouri City at 7.3 percent, and Rosenberg at 7.5 percent.
For the same month, neighboring Houston is at 7.7 percent.
Statewide, the unemployment rate for April is 8 percent, down from 8.1 percent in March. Although it is just a slight improvement, it represents a decline in the number of those without jobs and the third consecutive month that the rate has dropped, according to state data. The state’s unemployment rate for April is below the 9 percent national jobless rate, and Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken said that employers statewide added 32,900 jobs in April. He said this makes the seventh consecutive month of increases in employment in the state and last year, annual job growth accounted for 254,400 more jobs in Texas.
The lowest unemployment rate in Texas is in the Midland area, which reports April figures of 4.4 percent. The Amarillo metropolitan statistic area had the second lowest unemployment rate at 5.2 percent followed by College Station-Bryan at 5.7 percent. Brownsville-Harlingen had the highest rate at 11.5 percent.
According to business sources in the state, the Texas economy continues to outperform the U.S. economy. Overall, the jobless rate nation-wide has fallen in most states for the month of April.
Labor Department figures also show five states in April with the largest job increases in employment – New York, 45,700; Texas, 32,900; Pennsylvania, 23,700; Massachusetts, 19,500; and Florida, 14,900. Texas, however, ranks first nationally for the largest annual job growth adding those 254,400 jobs.