AUSTIN — Texas seasonally adjusted nonagricultural employment grew by 18,600 jobs in December.
Texas employers now have added 218,600 jobs during the past 12 months, for an annual growth rate of 2.1 percent, more than double the national growth rate of 1.0 percent.
The December statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 4.5 percent, up from 4.2 percent in November, but down from 4.7 percent a year ago. The U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 5.0 percent in December, up from 4.4 percent in December 2006.
“Texas employers finished 2007 at a vibrant pace,” said Texas Workforce Commission chairman Diane Rath. “The state’s annual job growth rate leads the nation’s by a ratio of more than 2-to-1.”
The Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area experienced the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 2.7 percent (not seasonally adjusted). The Amarillo, Lubbock and Odessa MSAs were second at 3.2 percent.
Professional and business services gained 8,900 positions in December, for a total of 59,000 jobs created since December 2006 and a 4.7 percent annual growth rate.
Education and health services recorded a monthly increase of 5,800 jobs in December, representing 29,100 jobs added in the past 12 months.
“Our economy continues to display broad-based vitality across most sectors,” said TWC commissioner representing employers Ron Lehman. “At 18,600 jobs, December 2007 job growth is almost twice the average December gain for the past five years.”
Financial activities posted a significant gain of 2,300 jobs in December, with industry increases for the past 14 months. Leisure and hospitality added 2,200 positions last month, gaining 37,900 positions during the year and an annual job growth rate of 3.9 percent.
“Texans saw many new job opportunities in December,” said TWC commissioner representing labor Ronny Congleton. “From construction and manufacturing to professional and business services and education and health services, our state’s businesses continue creating positions for those seeking work.”
Construction in Texas gained 1,300 jobs last month, with 12,900 positions added during the year for a 2.1 percent annual job growth rate.
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