Mirroring a decline nationwide, the unemployment rate in Texas fell sharply in September, falling to 6.8 percent from August, the Texas Workforce Commission said Friday.
Texas added 21,000 non-farm jobs last month, bringing to 262,700 the number of jobs added since last year, when the unemployment rate was 7.9 percent. The state's rate remained a full percentage point below the national rate, which fell to 7.8 percent in September from 8.1 percent in August.
Fort Worth-Arlington saw a solid decline in unemployment as well, declining to 6.2 percent from 6.9 percent in August, the commission said, based on figures that were not seasonally adjusted. That's down from 10.4 percent a year ago.
Helped by energy-related activities in the Permian Basin, Midland and Odessa recorded the state's lowest jobless rates, 3.3 percent and 4.4 percent respectively, it said.
"We saw encouraging signs in our state's labor market in September and a decrease in the unemployment rate last month," Andres Alcantar, the commission chairman, said in a prepared statement. "Texas continues to add jobs and we now have a record number of people employed in our state."
Seven of the 11 major economic sectors showed growth, the largest being professional and business services, which added 13,600 positions. It said 47,200 jobs were added in this job sector over the past year.
"It is clear that employers are benefitting from the available skilled workers in our state," said Ronny Congleton, the commissioner representing labor. "I'm encouraged to see that 3,800 manufacturing jobs were added last month, which indicates a growing demand for goods made here in Texas."
But employment in construction as well as mining, which includes oil and gas drilling and production, dropped in September. Both sectors remain well up from a year ago, however.
Mining lost 4,200 jobs, falling to 257,000 from 261,200 in August, a decline of 1.6 percent; but it has added 15,200 positions in the past 12 months. Construction declined by 4,100, dropping to 592,300 in September from 596,400 the month before. It added 32,800 in the past year, the commission said, citing seasonally adjusted numbers.
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