Texas jobless rate falls to 6%, lowest in five years

The Texas jobless rate declined for a fifth straight month in December to 6 percent, its lowest since December 2008.

Employers added 17,600 positions to their payrolls last month, the Texas Workforce Commission said Friday. In the past 12 months, they have added 252,400.

The state unemployment rate is adjusted for seasonal fluctuations. The comparable U.S. rate is 6.7 percent.

In Fort Worth-Arlington, the jobless rate was 5.3 percent, the lowest since October 2008. That rate is not seasonally adjusted. The unadjusted jobless rate for Texas in December was 5.6 percent.

The workforce commission said nine of the state’s 11 major industry categories showed job growth, led by 8,100 new positions in the category that includes trade, transportation and utilities. The category also added the most jobs over the past 12 months, 68,200.

Manufacturing added 6,600 jobs, and construction 3,400, said Ronny Congleton, TWC commissioner for labor. “Growth in these industries means more goods are being made in Texas and built in Texas, and that’s good news,” he said in a prepared release.

Midland, in the heart of the Permian Basin energy boom, had the state’s lowest unemployment rate, 2.8 percent. Neighboring Odessa was close behind at 3.4 percent, followed by Amarillo at 4 percent. Those are not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations.

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission in the Lower Rio Grande Valley had the highest jobless rate, 10.4 percent, the state’s only double-digit rate in December.