Unemployment rate falls in Texas, Fort Worth area


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The unemployment rate in Texas dipped to 6.1 percent in November, representing its lowest level in nearly five years, state labor officials said Friday.

The Texas Workforce Commission released jobless figures for last month, showing a slight drop from the 6.2 percent recorded for October. The November figure represents the fourth straight month the rate has fallen.

In the Dallas-Plano-Irving area, the unemployment rate was 5.7 percent, down from 5.9 percent in October and down from 5.9 percent a year earlier.

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In the Fort Worth-Arlington area, the unemployment rate in November was 5.5 percent, down from 5.7 percent in October and down from 5.7 percent a year earlier.

The nationwide 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.

“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 released by his office.

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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 added jobs over the year. Six out of 11 recorded annual growth rates at or above 2 percent.

Richard Fisher, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, praised the state’s economic 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.

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He said job creation in Texas has significantly outpaced employment growth nationally for the past 23 years. He added that export growth in Texas has increased more than 70 percent since 2009.

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