Two of the three metro areas reporting the largest increases in non-farm payroll employment are located in Texas, according to the newest Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Survey released by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In January 266 metropolitan areas reported over-the-year increases in non-farm payroll employment, 93 reported decreases, and 13 were unchanged.

Adding 63,600 jobs to its labor force, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area reported the largest gain in non-farm employment – in number and percentage. The Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metro area came in second place, with the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville metro area rounded out the top three. On a percentage basis, both the Dallas and Houston metro areas reported an increase of 2.3% in non-farm employment. (Note: these statistics refer to metropolitan areas – not central cities.)

Rosanne Ortega, Executive Director of the Greater Dallas Planning Council says that North Texas was fortunate to not have been hit as hard as some other parts of the country during the economic downturn.

She points to several reasons for employment growth in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area, including the opening of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington (which opened in June 2009), the relocation of Comerica Bank’s corporate headquarters to Dallas, and the expansion of Dallas Area Regional Transit’s (DART) Green Line into the northern suburbs, including Carrollton, Farmers Branch, and Denton. Each of these projects helped fuel economic development, including bringing new jobs to and keeping existing employment opportunities in the area.

The state of Texas as a whole experienced a 2.5 % increase in total nonagricultural employment between January 2010 and January 2011, according to the Texas Labor Market Review. The mining and logging sector experienced the largest percentage gain (+1.8%) in employment, followed by trade, transportation and utilities (+0.8%), manufacturing (+0.7%), and construction (+0.6%).