The Waco area’s jobless rate slipped below 4 percent in September, but the local economy saw the loss of an estimated 900 jobs during the past year, according to reports released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Unemployment in the Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Falls and McLennan counties, dropped to 3.8 percent, which placed it in the middle of the pack among 25 MSAs statewide, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.
That rate was down from 4.4 percent in August and 4.2 percent in September of last year. Statewide, Texas added an estimated 256,100 seasonally adjusted jobs over the past year, though there was a decline of 7,300 jobs in September, “due largely to effects from Hurricane Harvey,” according to a workforce commission press release.
Texas’ seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell to 4 percent, down from 4.2 percent in August and below the nation’s 4.2 percent.
“Hurricane Harvey impacted overall job numbers in September, but the dynamic Texas economy has created jobs in 10 of 11 industries over the year,” commission Chairman Andres Alcantar wrote in the press release. “The Texas Workforce Commission remains focused on building and deploying all partnerships necessary to support the rebuilding of our communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey and to put our fellow Texans back to work.”
The Amarillo MSA recorded the month’s lowest jobless rate among Texas MSAs, with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 2.7 percent. That was followed by the Midland MSA, with a rate of 2.8 percent.
The Austin-Round Rock, Bryan-College Station and Lubbock MSAs registered a rate of 2.9 percent in September.
“All goods-producing industries showed strength in Texas in September, including manufacturing, which has added 37,200 jobs over the year,” Julian Alvarez, the workforce commissioner representing labor, wrote in the press release.
The Waco MSA saw an estimated increase of 100 manufacturing jobs during the past year, the total rising from 6,400 to 6,500, according to the report.
However, other categories showed declines, with trade, transportation and utilities; and leisure and hospitality each seeing an estimated drop of 400 positions. Professional and business services plummeted by an estimated 500 positions.
Increases were seen in government, 200; and in construction and manufacturing, 100 each.
Still, the area’s jobless rate is improving because the civilian labor force, which reflects both the employed and unemployed, dipped by an estimated 100 people between August and September and an estimated 1,000 between September of last year and this year.
Despite Waco experiencing a boom in tourism growth, fueled primarily by the popularity of Magnolia Market at the Silos, leisure and hospitality numbers dropped by 200 between August and September.