Texas’ jobless rate rose slightly to 4.7 percent in December; energy industry sees impact

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas unemployment rate rose for a fourth straight month in December to reach 4.7 percent, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Friday.

The nationwide jobless rate for December held steady at 5 percent, the commission said in a statement. The Texas jobless rate was 4.6 percent in November.

Amarillo had the lowest average unemployment rate in the state last month at 2.9 percent. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area had the highest jobless rate in Texas at 7.8 percent, the commission said.

“Texas finished 2015 on a strong note in December, with employers adding 166,900 jobs over the year across a diverse range of industries,” said Andres Alcantar, commission chairman.

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In the Fort Worth-Arlington MSA, unemployment fell to 3.8 percent, down from 4.1 percent in November and down from 4 percent a year earlier.

In the Dallas-Plano-Irving MSA, unemployment fell to 3.6 percent, down from 3.9 percent in November and down from 4 percent a year earlier.

Texas employers expanded their payrolls in December with the addition of 24,900 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs. That’s the 10th month of job increases for Texas during 2015, according to the commission.

Professional and business services employment surged in December with the addition of 12,500 positions. The education and health services industry recorded the second largest employment gain over the month in Texas, with 7,400 jobs added.

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“Private-sector employment was strong over the year with the overall job growth of 141,300 jobs in December,” said Commissioner Ruth R. Hughs. “Texas employers continue to be strong and resilient in providing employment and training opportunities.”

The mining and logging category, which includes energy industry jobs, showed a decline of 10.5 percent from December of 2014, the largest percentage decrease in any category. – FWB’s Robert Francis contributed to this report.



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