Breaking a trend, the Waco area actually lost jobs in August compared to the same month last year, though the jobless rate rose only fractionally.
The Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Falls and McLennan counties, saw an estimated decline of 800 jobs among residents and commuters from outside the area, according to reports released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Job holders slipped from 119,400 in August of 2016 to 118,600 last month, with the biggest drop coming in the categories of trade, transportation and utilities; and leisure and hospitality, both of which experienced a 400-job slide. They were followed by losses of 300 in professional and business services; 200 in government; and 100 in financial activities.
Meanwhile, the Workforce Commission reported the jobless rate for the Waco MSA rose to 4.5 percent in August, up from 4.4 percent in July and 4.2 percent in August of last year. The civilian labor force, which includes those employed and those looking for work, declined by about a thousand people.
Employment among residents of the MSA slipped by about 1,200 in the last year, declining from 117,700 with jobs in August of last year to 116,500 last month. But the Workforce Commission reported that decline is partly a result of the drop in the number of people looking for work in Central Texas.
Statewide, the Texas economy expanded for the 14th straight month but saw only a 5,500-job gain in seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment. The adjusted jobless rate fell to 4.2 percent from 4.3 percent in July.
“Texas employers added 298,600 jobs over the year in the diverse and competitive Texas economy,” commission Chairman Andres Alcantar said in a press release. “The Texas Workforce Commission is dedicated to building and deploying the partnerships necessary to support the rebuilding of our Texas communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey and to put our fellow Texans back to work.”
Ruth R. Hughs, the commissioner representing employers, wrote in the press release that the state’s private sector has added 270,800 jobs in the past year.
The Amarillo Metropolitan Statistical Area recorded the month’s lowest jobless rate among Texas MSAs, with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 3.1 percent. It was followed by the Midland MSA, with a rate of 3.2 percent, and the Austin-Round Rock MSA with a rate of 3.4 percent.
“Several goods producing industries are showing strength in Texas, including construction, which has added 15,200 jobs over the year,” Julian Alvarez, the commissioner representing labor, wrote in the press release.
Nationally, the jobless rate stood at 4.5 percent in August, down from 4.6 percent in July and 5 percent in August of last year.