April 21, 2017
The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area created 13,300 jobs in March and 30,900 jobs over the previous 12 months, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).
The monthly job gain was above the 25-year average of 12,700 jobs added for a March and the 12-month growth is the largest since September ’15. Houston’s total nonfarm employment now stands at 3,023,400.
The top growth sectors were those driven by population growth: government (primarily public education), leisure and hospitality, and health care. Government added 1,300 jobs in March ’17 and 14,300 in the 12-months ending March ’17.
Leisure and hospitality added 4,200 over the month and 9,400 over the 12-month period. Health services and private education grew by 1,200 jobs in March and 11,400 over the previous 12 months. These sectors were supported by the 125,005 residents added to the region in ’16, about one new Houstonian every four minutes.
The sector posting the largest decline was trade, transportation, utilities, shedding 3,000 jobs in March and 6,200 jobs over the prior 12 months. Several industries, primarily energy-related, reported gains in March ’17 but losses over the 12-months ending March ’17, reflecting the slow recovery in the energy industry. Mining and logging (i.e., upstream energy) added 600 jobs in March ’17 but lost 4,400 jobs in the 12 months ending March ’17.
Durable goods manufacturing, which includes mining machinery, gained 2,200 jobs over the month but lost 1,000 jobs over the year.
Architectural, engineering and related services added 700 jobs in March but shed 3,900 jobs over the previous 12 months.
Houston’s March unemployment rate was 5.7 percent, down from 5.9 percent in February but up from 4.9 percent in March ’16. Texas’ unemployment rate was 5.0 percent in March, down from 5.1 percent in February but up from 4.5 percent in March ’16.
The U.S. rate was 4.6 percent in March, down from 4.9 percent in February and from 5.1 percent in March ’16. The rates are not seasonally adjusted.