The national economy hasn't picked up quite as quickly as Texas', but as the New York Times reported today, the nation has added about the same number of jobs Texas added over the last year in each of the last three consecutive months. The U.S. as a whole gained 227,000 jobs in February, 284,000 in January and 223,000 in December. (Texas' February stats won't be available until March 30.)
Texas' unemployment rate decreased slightly in January to 7.3 percent from 7.4 percent in December. That's a big drop from last January, when Texas' unemployment rate was 8.1 percent.
"We're seeing substantial economic growth here in Texas," said Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken in a prepared statement. "I am encouraged that mining and logging, which includes oil and gas employers, has added more than 38,000 jobs over the past year. This industry has grown at a faster rate than any other in Texas, at a 17.6 percent annual growth rate."
The next fastest growing industry in Texas is leisure and hospitality, which grew by 5.5 percent -- 55,900 jobs -- in the last year. In raw numbers, business and professional services added the most jobs, 69,500, and grew by 5.3 percent.
Government lost 74,400 jobs this year, the most of any industry by far. Check out this week's Tribune interactive, showing the 25,000 school employees who lost their jobs this year because of budget cuts in education.
The unemployment rate continues to be lowest in Midland, at 4.1 percent, and throughout West Texas. It is highest in South Texas, Beaumont and El Paso.
In another positive note for job creation, Gov. Rick Perry also announced today that Apple plans to bring 3,600 jobs to Austin. Texas sweetened the deal by promising the company $21 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund over the next 10 years in exchange for the bringing the $304 million investment to the state.