AUSTIN — Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in December, down from 8.1 percent in November and down from 8.3 percent in December 2010. The Texas Civilian Labor Force grew by more than 17,000 individuals in December, and now stands at more than 12.3 million Texans.
Texas added 20,200 nonfarm jobs in December for a total of 204,500 jobs added over the year. Private employers in Texas added 10,100 jobs in December for a total of 260,000 private sector jobs added over the year. Texas has experienced positive annual job growth for the last 20 consecutive months with annual growth rates at or above 2.0 percent for the last seven months.
Palo Pinto County's number of unemployed workers dipped below the 1,000 mark for December of 2011, bringing the local jobless rate to 6.8 percent of the 14,062 people counted in the statistical labor force. The number is a full percentage point below the state unemployment figure and nearly 2 percentage points below the national figure.
“Texas continues to see signs of improvement in the labor market,” said Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chairman Tom Pauken. “Texas’ unemployment rate has decreased for the third consecutive month, and now stands at 7.8 percent, which is the lowest since July 2009. Our state’s unemployment rate remains below the national unemployment rate of 8.5 percent.”
The Leisure and Hospitality industry added 4,100 jobs in December, totaling 41,200 jobs added over the year. This resulted in a robust annual growth rate of 4.0 percent. Growth in the Manufacturing industry continued as this industry added 2,200 jobs in December for a total of 25,200 jobs over the year for an annual growth rate of 3.1 percent. The Mining and Logging industry expanded by 2,000 jobs over the month, totaling 40,700 jobs gained over the year. Large employment gains in Mining and Logging have resulted in this industry’s annual growth rate ranking highest among all of the major industries at 18.7 percent.
“I am encouraged to see our state’s unemployment rate continuing to drop,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “TWC and our local workforce boards stand ready to help those seeking work in Texas find good jobs to provide for themselves and their families.”
Employment in Financial Activities expanded by 2,100 jobs in December, totaling 18,000 jobs added over the year for a 2.9 percent annual job growth rate—the highest for that industry since March 2007. Professional and Business Services employment expanded by 1,600 jobs in December and added 53,100 jobs over the year. Having added jobs in nine of the past 12 months, the annual job growth rate for Professional and Business Services in December was 4.1 percent.
“Eight of the 11 major industries in Texas added jobs in December, and that’s good news for job seekers,” said TWC Commissioner Representing the Public Andres Alcantar. “We encourage those looking for work to utilize TWC’s services and resources, such as the state’s online job database WorkInTexas.com.”