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Texas unemployment dips to 6.1% in November

The unemployment rate in Texas dipped to 6.1 percent in November, the lowest in nearly five years, state labor officials said Friday.

The rate was down from 6.2 percent in October, the fourth straight monthly decline, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Nationwide, the seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 7 percent, down from 7.3 percent in October.

Employment in Texas rose by 28,700 positions in November, adding to the increase of more than 274,000 jobs from last year. The numbers do not include farm-related jobs.

Separately, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, which compiles its own jobs data, estimated that employers in the state added 21,700 jobs in November. It put the number of payroll spots added this year at 251,200.

In Fort Worth-Arlington, the jobless rate in November was 5.5 percent, down from 5.7 percent in October. Metropolitan-area figures are not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations. The comparable Texas rate in November was 5.8 percent.

The Fed does not calculate a jobless rate for the area but said employers added 2,000 jobs in November, bringing the total to 937,300. That’s a gain of 24,400 in 2013 by the Fed’s count.

“We’ve been the national epicenter for all kinds of job creation for over a decade, and all indications are that won’t change anytime soon,” Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement.

Workforce commission Chairman Andres Alcantar said the private sector in Texas added 20,500 jobs, representing growth of 2.8 percent.

Trade, transportation and utility industries added the most positions, but every major industry in Texas gained jobs during the year. Six of 11 industries recorded annual growth rates of at least 2 percent.

Richard Fisher, president and CEO of the Dallas Fed, praised the state’s growth in his annual update on the Texas economy Thursday.

“Above all, Texas is a state of mind where people are ready to work and get things done for the betterment of their families, communities, cities and beyond,” Fisher said.

He said job creation in Texas has significantly outpaced national growth for 23 years.

Midland had the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.9 percent, followed by Odessa at 3.5 percent. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area was the highest, at 10.3 percent, followed by Brownsville-Harlingen at 9.5 percent.

Staff writer Jim Fuquay contributed to this report.