From AP REPORTS
DALLAS — Texas employers added 29,400 jobs in July, but that wasn’t enough to offset an increase in job seekers, and the state unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent, the Texas Workforce Commission said Friday.
The jobless rate in June had been 4.1 percent, the lowest since at least 1976.
The July gain in nonagricultural employment was the third largest of the year.
Government agencies accounted for more than one-third of the new jobs.
A year ago, the unemployment rate was 4.9 percent. Texas remained below the national jobless average of 4.6 percent.
The lowest jobless rate in the state was in Midland, at 3.2 percent, while the highest was 7.2 percent in the Rio Grande Valley cities of McAllen, Edinburg and Mission.
Government agencies added 11,000 new jobs in July, and professional and business services added 5,900, the commission said. Other services, a catch-all category that covers everything from auto-repair shops to hair salons, added 4,900 jobs in July.
The state has added 265,900 jobs, or 2.6 percent, over the past 12 months, according to the commission.
“Texas employers continue to create jobs at an exceptional pace, reflecting the underlying strength of our state’s economy,” said Diane Rath, chairwoman of the workforce commission.
There were 60,171 initial claims for unemployment benefits in the month, up from 58,120 in June.
The unemployment rate was adjusted for seasonal trends in hiring and firing, which most economists believe gives a better picture of the job market.
Following are the preliminary July unemployment rates for local areas in Texas, with revised June figures in parentheses. The figures are not seasonally adjusted. The statewide unadjusted jobless rate was 4.8 percent in July.
Abilene 4.1 (4.0)
Austin-Round Rock 4.0 (3.8)
Corpus Christi 4.9 (4.7)
Dallas-Plano-Irving 4.6 (4.4)
El Paso 6.4 (6.2)
Fort Worth-Arlington 4.6
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown 4.6 (4.4)
Lubbock 4.2 (4.1)
San Antonio 4.6 (4.4)
Sherman-Denison 5.0 (4.6)
Texarkana 5.2 (4.9)
Tyler 4.6 (4.4)
Victoria 4.1 (4.0)
Waco 5.0 (4.8)
Wichita Falls 4.5 (4.4)