MacroScope

Texas-sized jobs growth turns puny? Don’t y’all believe it, Dallas Fed says

Is the pickup in U.S. jobs growth over before it even started? That’s the conclusion you might reach if you checked out the latest Texas employment update from the Dallas Fed , which shows the Lone Star state added only 4,000 jobs in January.Texas, as boosters like Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher never tire of pointing out, has been an enormous engine of job growth for the United States since the end of the Great Recession.

The state added 335,000 jobs last year. For it to generate a paltry 4,000 jobs in January – well, that sounds like bad news.

Dallas Fed chief regional economist Pia Orrenius isn’t a bit worried. Last year’s data also came in too low initially – what turned out to be 3.1 percent growth was originally estimated at 2.5 percent growth. “Nothing happened to suggest we suddenly slowed in January,” she said in a phone interview. The regional Fed’s manufacturing survey was strong, and the oil rig count was up, she said. Both November and December’s initial jobs figures were revised up sharply, she said. As for January, “We expect this will be revised up as well.” Stay tuned for those revisions then. The state’s run as a driver of U.S. employment growth  may not be over yet.

Profiles in unemployment: The auto worker

As part of a Reuters series on long-term unemployment, reporters spoke with those who are struggling to find work. For other profiles click here and here.

ALVIN GAINS, 56, former Chrysler worker

For the second time in 30 years, Alvin Gains is leaving his home state of Michigan and moving to Texas to find work.

“There are college kids who can’t find a job, so there’s no chance for someone my age,” said Gains, 56. “But people are hiring in Houston, so it’s time to go.”