Houston shows strong employment growth

Houston Chronicle:
Robust job creation from staffing firms, retailers and restaurants and bars kept the Houston-area economy running hotter than the rest of Texas in February.
"We beat the pants off Dallas, we beat the pants off Austin, we beat the pants off San Antonio," said Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research for the Greater Houston Partnership. "And the other Texas metros are sitting on the bench waiting to get called into the game."
Houston-area employers added 93,400 new jobs between February 2011 and February 2012, according to data released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission. That represents an annual growth rate of 3.7 percent.
While Houston's bread-and-butter industries such as energy, manufacturing and health care are aggressive job generators, 42 percent of Houston's growth during the past year has come from retailers, bars and restaurants and staffing services.
"We're going out to eat more, and we're wearing more clothes," said Barton Smith, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Houston. "And we have a lot more temp jobs out there."
Smith said he was surprised by the size of the hiring surge and partly attributes it to an increase in population, more confidence about the economy and a desire by employers to hire temporary staffers before committing to permanent workers.
... 
I suspect some of this employment growth is from companies who are active in the Eagle  Ford shale where they are having to staff up with people to operate drilling rigs and drive trucks needed for the operation. Overall, Texas unemployment rate dropped to 7.1 percent, a full point behind the national average.  It is too bad that Obama is blocking this kind of employment growth elsewhere with his anti energy policies.

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