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Houston is a job-creating machine

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The Houston area economy is growing faster than anyone realized.

Houston area employers created 118,200 jobs between January 2012 and January 2013, a 4.5 percent year-over-year increase, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Friday.

There is only one other 12-month period during the past decade that Houston has grown so quickly, said Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research for the Greater Houston Partnership. That was the 12-months ending in June 2007, a time when the local economy was "just growing like gangbusters."

"I can't imagine there is another metro area that is doing as well as we're doing, he said.

Each spring, the Texas Workforce Commission compares its monthly estimates of job growth and job loss with actual employer payroll taxes. According to Jankowski's back-of-the-envelop calculations during the few minutes the eagerly anticipated data was released Friday morning, the Houston area has added more than 20,000 jobs during 2012 than the commission originally estimated.

There were signs late last year of a overall slowing of growth in the Houston economy. But with the latest data, it doesn't look like Houston is slowing down, said Jankowski.

At the same time, the local unemployment rate in January jumped to 6.7 percent, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Friday. The Houston area unemployment rate, which is not adjusted for typical seasonal fluctuations, was 6 percent in December.

Statewide, the unemployment rate edged up slightly to 6.3 percent in January, the commission reported Friday. The increase - it was 6.2 percent in December - marked the first increase after declining for six consecutive months,

The Texas unemployment rate - which is seasonally adjusted, unlike the local data -continues to remain below the comparable U.S. jobless rate of 7.9 percent for January.

"The Texas economy continues to add jobs and create opportunity, with growth in all 11 major industries over the last year," said Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar.

Sourced from chron.com

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