The job market in the Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan region is showing some signs of slowing growth.
The job market still has 47,900 more jobs than the same time last year, according to data from the Texas Workforce Commission. But the pace of growth has slowed to 4.3%. In previous months, the job growth each month compared with the previous year hovered between 5-6%.
In November, the region lost 3,600 jobs over the month.
Unemployment levels have stayed consistent in November at 3.4%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The leisure and hospitality industry leads the Fort Worth-Arlington job market, adding 15,800 jobs compared with the same time last year. That’s just ahead of the education and health services industry, which added 12,200. Both finance and insurance and financial activities sectors lost jobs.
Ray Perryman, an economist at the Perryman Group, remains confident that the economy will continue to grow in the state despite fears of a recession and headwinds such as inflation. In a blog post, he wrote problems facing the global economy will also impact Texas, because the state is responsible for one-sixth of exports in the country. But Perryman believes factors such as strong job gains from February 2020 to October 2022 indicate Texas may do better during a slowdown than other states.
“Because the Texas economy is on more solid ground than many areas, it will likely weather any national slowing or downturn better than most regions,” Perryman wrote.
Adam Perdue, a research economist at Texas A&M University Real Estate Research Center, said to not read too much into the lost jobs in November. The job market has been growing at an unusually rapid pace for the past two years, he said. Before the pandemic, the growth rate before the pandemic bounced at 2-3%. For the past two years, it’s been at 5% and above.
“Everything’s looking pretty good, and actually better than we had any kind of reason to expect in the Fort Worth-Arlington area,” Perdue said. “We’ve been saying that employment growth was going to slow just because it had to, because that’s just the way it normally works.”
There’s a possibility that the growth in the past year might not be as high as reported. The Texas Workforce Commission will re-benchmark the data to provide a more accurate picture of the Texas economy in March. Perdue predicts that the updated data will show a pace of growth more on par with what was happening before the pandemic.
There’s a few big global forces that could impact the pace of growth, Perdue said. One of those is how well the U.S. Federal Reserve controls inflation through raising interest rates.
“Our belief is that growth won’t be quite as stupendous,” Perdue said. “It might be downgraded to spectacular.”
Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter at @sbodine120.