Texas jobless rate dips to 6.1 percent in December

Posted Friday, Jan. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Texas unemployment rate dipped for a fourth straight month in December, falling to a seasonally adjusted 6.1 percent as employers added only 4,100 jobs and the workforce shrank slightly.

In the past year, the state jobless rate has declined more than 1 percentage point and employers have added 260,800 jobs, the Texas Workforce Commission said Friday. The rate is the lowest in four years and well below the U.S. figure, which ended the year at 7.8 percent.

In Fort Worth-Arlington, the jobless rate rose in December to 5.9 percent from 5.7 percent in November. Those figures are not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations. The unadjusted Texas rate is 6 percent for December and 5.8 percent for November.

Area employers added 800 jobs in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those were led by 2,400 positions in trade/transportation/utilities, 1,500 in leisure/hospitality and 300 in manufacturing. Construction/mining shed 1,400 positions, and professional and business services were down 500.

Statewide, professional and business services added 13,300 jobs, manufacturing added 3,000, and mining, the category that includes oil and gas production, added 1,600. Those gains were offset by losses in government, construction, and leisure and hospitality.

"In December, we saw annual growth in 10 major industries, for an overall annual growth of 2.5 percent in Texas," Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar said in a news release. "With those positive strides and 11,800 private sector jobs added in the past month, 2012 was a strong year for Texas and my hope is that the Texas economy will build on that success in 2013."

Midland's 3.1 percent rate and Odessa's 3.7 percent were the state's lowest, reflecting oil activity. The Brownsville-Harlingen metropolitan area, joined by McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, had the highest rate, at 10.3 percent.

Jim Fuquay, 817-390-7552

Twitter: @jimfuquay

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