The Texas unemployment rate declined to 4.6 percent in November as the state added 20,900 nonfarm jobs, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Friday.
The report marked 19 out of the past 20 months that Texas has added jobs and brings state job additions to 210,800 for the past year.
“I am encouraged by our state’s continued job growth, with Texas employers adding jobs in nine of 11 industries over the past year,” commission Chairman Andres Alcantar said in a statement.
The state jobless rate declined from 4.7 percent in October and is now even with the U.S. rate of 4.6 percent.
The expansion continues a pickup in the state’s economy in the second half of 2016, according to economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, which put November job growth at 20,500 jobs.
“Job growth since midyear has averaged 2.5 percent, after growing only 0.8 percent in the first half,”Keith R. Phillips, the Dallas Fed’s assistant vice president and senior economist, said in a statement. “The moderate pace of job growth over the past several months and the slight gains in the leading index suggest that job growth should be stable to slightly stronger in the months ahead.”
Incorporating the November numbers, the Dallas Fed’s Texas Employment Forecast stands at 1.6 percent growth for 2016, suggesting 194,100 jobs will be added this year. The forecast was revised slightly upward from last month’s estimate of 1.5 percent.
A rebound in oil prices and drilling activity in West Texas has helped. The state’s mining and logging sector, which includes oil and gas, added 3,200 jobs in November, though it’s still off 29,200 jobs from November 2015.
Statewide, the leisure and hospitality sector showed the biggest job gains in November, adding 5,700 positions, while manufacturing showed the biggest decline, down 3,900 jobs.
Dallas-Fort Worth continued to add jobs, with the region’s unemployment rate dipping to 3.5 percent in November. Unemployment in Fort Worth-Arlington was 3.6 percent.
Unemployment rates fell in all nine major Texas metro areas, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from the Dallas Fed.