What recession? Dallas-Fort Worth creates 19,500 jobs in October, 255,000 last year

Here’s another reason to be grateful, even if you’ve heard it before: the local job market is crushing it again.

Dallas-Fort Worth added 19,500 jobs in October, seasonally adjusted, and it was the biggest monthly gain since May, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The strong growth comes at a time when many are warning of an impending recession, largely because the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates to fight inflation. So far, most indicators point to a strong economy, especially in D-FW.

In the 12 months to October, the region added 255,000 jobs, well ahead of historic rates and the pace of last year when the economy was recovering from the pandemic.

In the decade before COVID-19, North Texas added an average of 92,500 jobs per year. This means that employment growth this year is more than two and a half times higher than usual trends.

“Something is brewing up there in D-FW,” said Adam Perdue, an economist at Texas A&M University’s Texas Real Estate Research Center. “Everything always turns out fantastically. »

Dallas-Fort Worth set a new high for total employment in October with nearly 4.19 million workers. The region grew employment by 6.5% over the past 12 months, nearly double the U.S. job growth rate of 3.4% and the highest among the most populous metropolises .

D-FW’s core industries are still growing, Perdue said, and many are picking up the pace of hiring. In the state jobs report, released Friday, Texas added hiring in all categories except financial services, which lost 700 positions statewide.

The decline in financials is not surprising given rising interest rates and a slowing housing market. But in D-FW, the finance sector added 3,200 jobs in October — and it grew nearly 22,000, or 6.2%, from last year.

Such trends suggest higher production and consumption, Perdue said, and undermine forecasts of a recession.

What worries him most is the low unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in D-FW in October, down from 4.2% a year ago.

“We’re running out of people to hire,” Perdue said, “because we’re growing as fast as we can.”

This is D-FW’s biggest job gain in the 12 months to October. The total surpassed last year’s record of 214,000 jobs added, largely thanks to the recovery from the pandemic. Prior to the past two years, the fastest growing comparable period was 1997.

“The numbers are just off the charts; we’re basically doubling what we were producing before,” said Jay Denton, director of analytics at ThinkWhy, a Dallas-based software services company that focuses on jobs and salaries.

One of the keys has been the strong internal migration. D-FW has been a leader in attracting workers and employers from more expensive regions in California, New York and Illinois.

Many traveled here during the pandemic, and that flow was expected to slow as other parts of the country rebounded and the increase in remote working became more permanent. If people could work anywhere, the theory goes, that would lessen the attractiveness of Dallas and other major metropolitan areas, especially with their rapidly rising home prices.

That didn’t happen: “Dallas still attracts a lot of people who move here to work for local businesses,” Denton said. “They are also moving here to work remotely for companies outside of Texas.”

Migration data is lagging, so it will be some time before this year’s trend is clear. But a key metric – the size of the civilian workforce – suggests that D-FW continues to attract many newcomers.

Over the past 12 months, the region has added more than 158,000 people to the labor force, which includes those who are working and looking for work. In the Dallas-Plano-Irving metropolitan division, the labor force grew nearly 4.2%, well ahead of increases of 2.2% for Texas and 1.8% for the United States.

“You can’t get [growth] without the labor,” Denton said. “You can have a job open, but you can’t fill it if you don’t have the people.”

The talent pool is one of the great strengths of the Dallas job market. Denton said much of the Northeast, Midwest and California don’t even match the US labor force growth rate.

The number of announced business relocations in North Texas has slowed from a year ago, but the trend remains significant, said Laila Assanie, senior business economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

“We still have people and businesses moving, but not to the same degree as in 2021,” Assanie said.

The threat of an economic slowdown could cause some businesses to move early, another expert said.

“It’s almost like any kind of talk about the recession seems to increase the speed at which people come in,” said Thomas Vick, Dallas-Fort Worth regional manager of Robert Half, a major recruiting firm. “Employers are still hiring – and we have people and businesses flocking to D-FW.”

Unemployment rates are not far from historic lows, especially in some industries, and that puts more pressure on employers trying to expand.

In October, finance in the United States had an unemployment rate of 1.5% and insurance of 1.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job category that includes oil and gas extraction — a crucial segment of the Texas economy — had an unemployment rate of 0.8% in October, down from 10% a year ago.

Such a low unemployment rate, coupled with strong job growth, gives workers a decisive advantage in today’s job market, Vick said.

Still, significant and high-profile layoffs were announced this month, including Facebook parent company Meta cutting more than 11,000 jobs and Amazon cutting around 10,000. These do not reflect broader trends, said Vick: “Big companies make the headlines, but they are in the minority. Most companies are still trying to hire.

They may have more plaintiffs in court, at least from these tech giants. But they won’t have the clout to get workers at a discount.

“It’s always a talent-driven market, and the candidates have the upper hand, especially in D-FW,” Vick said.

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