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Texas Employment Still Growing; Oil and Gas Industry Lead

Texas employment grew in the month of February, particularly in the oil and gas industry, according to a new report from the Wells Fargo Economics Group. The group from Wells found that Texas added 37,600 workers to nonfarm payrolls throughout the month.

The unemployment rate for the Lone Star state held steady at 5.7 percent, and gains in employment were broadly based.

Seasonally adjusted, Texas' 5.7 percent unemployment rate falls a full point below the national average of 6.7 percent. Unemployment has been steadily declining since 2010, according to the  group's report.

The largest employment gains in the month were made in professional and business services, adding 10,600 jobs. Jobs in financial activities grew 7,400, and government jobs grew by 6,600 for February. Construction, a key component in fueling the housing market, experienced gains as well, posting an increase of 5,700 jobs.

Despite worsening at the end of 2013, the financial activities sector is rebounding, particularly in Dallas. "More financial firms pour into the state to provide services to the oil & gas and tech industries, as well as the rapidly growing population," the report said.

Austin, however, posted its first monthly loss since May, 2011. However, year-over-year growth is still up at 3.9 percent, keeping the state's capital firmly in the lead of the state's economy.

Overall, Houston and Dallas made solid gains in the month, reversing recent weaknesses.

"The oil & gas industry is alive and well in the state, even though growth has moderated from its previous breakneck pace," the report found.

About Author: Colin Robins

Colin Robins is the online editor for DSNews.com. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts from the University of Texas, Dallas. Additionally, he contributes to the MReport, DS News' sister site.

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