Texas jobless rate lowest in nearly four years

Posted Friday, Dec. 21, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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The Texas unemployment rate dropped to 6.2 percent in November, down from 6.6 percent in October and the lowest since December 2008, the Texas Workforce Commission said Friday.

The state's jobless rate was down more than a percentage point from 7.3 percent a year ago and remains well below the national rate of 7.7 percent.

The U.S. rate is also at a four-year low as November's improvement was widespread. Forty-five states, plus the District of Columbia, recorded decreases in unemployment, and the remaining five states had no change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

In Texas, employers added 22,100 total nonfarm jobs in November for a total of 278,800 jobs added over the year, TWC said. Eight of the state's 11 major job categories grew in November.

"Trade, transportation and utilities led the way with 20,600 jobs added over the month -- the largest monthly jump ever seen in that industry," TWC said. It's up 69,600 jobs in the past year.

Leisure/hospitality added 6,500 jobs last month, and education/health services added 4,700. Among the job losers, manufacturing and especially construction reversed their trends of job gains this year and showed sharp losses.

In Fort Worth-Arlington, job growth looked particularly strong, as the area added 7,100 jobs from October and 27,600 from a year ago, according to BLS data. Trade, transportation and utilities led all categories locally, adding 5,200 positions, nearly all in retail trade.

That helped Fort Worth-Arlington's jobless rate improve even more than the state's. The local rate fell to 5.6 percent in November from 6.1 percent in October. It was 7 percent a year ago.

The local metro numbers are not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations. The comparable unadjusted jobless rate in November was 5.8 percent for Texas and 7.4 percent for the United States.

The state's lowest jobless rates were 3 percent in Midland and 3.6 percent in nearby Odessa, in the middle of the Permian Basin oil boom. Brownville-Harlingen had the highest rate at 9.7 percent.

Around the country North Dakota, also at the center of an oil boom, this one in the state's Bakken Shale, had the lowest state jobless rate at a seasonally adjusted 3.1 percent. Nevada had the highest, 10.8 percent.

Jim Fuquay, (817) 390-7552

Twitter: @jimfuquay

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