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Texas Unemployment Drops to Lowest Level Since 2008

In November, for the third month in a row, the Texas unemployment rate dropped, falling to its lowest level since December 2008.

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In November, for the third month in a row, the Texas unemployment rate dropped, falling to its lowest level since December 2008.

Unemployment fell to 6.2 percent last month, a 0.4 percentage point drop from October. Texas employers added 22,100 jobs last month, bringing the state's overall total to 278,800 jobs added for the year.

"Private sector employers continue to lead the way to growth and prosperity in Texas," Texas Workforce Commissioner Tom Pauken said in a press release. "We've seen 266,400 private sector jobs added in Texas over the past year."

Texas' unemployment rate continues to be lower than the national rate, which fell only 0.2 percentage points from October to November, to 7.7 percent.

The biggest contributor to the drop in unemployment came from growth in the trade, transportation and utility sector, which added 20,600 jobs in everything from retail to the transportation of goods.

On the other side of the spectrum, outside the mining and logging sector, the goods production industry saw some of the largest drops in jobs in Texas in November, with the construction sector losing 8,300 jobs and the manufacturing sector dropping 6,900 jobs, a 1.4 percent and 0.8 percent drop, respectively. 

Even with the holiday season job churn, almost all sectors are in the black over the last 12 months.

“Texas employers have added 278,800 jobs over the past 12 months with growth in 10 of 11 industry sectors," Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andrews Alcantar said in a press release. Only the information sector, which includes jobs in the publishing, motion picture and broadcasting industries, has seen a drop, losing 3,400 jobs, or 1.7 percent, since November 2011.

According to the press release, the Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area, a representation of Midland and the surrounding area, had the lowest November unemployment, dropping 0.2 percentage points from October to November to 3 percent. Behind Midland, Odessa came in second at 3.6 percent, and Amarillo in third at 4.1 percent.

The Brownsville-Harlingen area, meanwhile, had the worst unemployment rate in the state during November, at 9.7 percent. Next was the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area at 9.6 percent, then the Beaumont-Port Arthur area, at 9.2 percent.

Texas Labor Force Job Totals (November 2012; Seasonally Adjusted)
 Oct. 2012Nov. 2012Nov. 2011
Mining and Logging 253,300 257,500 248,600
Construction 602,700 594,400 557,000
Manufacturing 853,900 847,000 844,400
Trade, Transportation, Utilities 2,162,600 2,183,200 2,113,600
Information 192,100 191,000 194,400
Financial Activities 651,800 652,700 643,400
Professional and Business Services 1,391,500 1,393,200 1,355,800
Education and Health Services 1,485,300 1,490,000 1,444,300
Leisure and Hospitality 1,105,800 1,112,300 1,062,400
Other Services 384,600 387,100 378,100
Government 1,787,800 1,789,100 1,776,700

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