Texas Unemployment Rate Slips to 4.6 Percent in December

Statewide unemployment slipped to 4.6 percent in December for a fourth straight month of declines and the lowest jobless figure since May 2008, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Friday.

The November jobless rate was 4.9 percent, according to commission figures. Texas unemployment was 6.0 percent in December 2013.

Gov. Greg Abbott praised the latest unemployment figures and predicted additional job growth.

"Job creation is the lifeblood of our state -- and Texas' history of strengthening job growth equates to more opportunity for all Texans," said Abbott, who was sworn in Tuesday. "The state of Texas will continue to promote fiscally responsible policies that sustain our position as number one in the nation for economic opportunity and give Texans across the state the means to invest in the future of their families."

The national unemployment rate last month hit a six-year low at 5.6 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

"Texas finished 2014 on a positive note adding 457,900 jobs over the year, its fifth straight month of record-setting annual job growth," TWC chairman Andres Alcantar said. "Every major industry added jobs over the year, benefiting from a strong business climate and a growing, competitive and high quality Texas workforce."

Seven of 11 major industries across Texas saw an increase in jobs in December, including 14,800 positions in professional and business services.

Midland had the lowest unemployment rate in Texas at 2.1 percent, while Odessa's jobless rate for December was 2.6 percent.

The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area had the state's highest unemployment at 7.8 percent, according to the TWC.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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