Texas sets record low jobless rate, but Valley higher

HARLINGEN — The jobless rate in Texas fell to its lowest level in 40 years in November to just 3.8 percent, setting a record over those past four decades.

The jobless rates for the Valley’s two biggest metropolitan areas showed slight increases in the month of November but remained significantly below the 2016 rate for the month, the Texas Workforce Commission reported today.

The Brownsville-Harlingen area’s jobless rate for November 2017 was 5.8 percent, up from 5.5 percent the previous month. In November 2016, the unemployment rate stood at 7.0 percent.

In McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, the jobless rate for November 2017 was 5.5 percent, up from 6.2 percent the previous month, but well below the 2016 rate for November, which was 7.6 percent.

The Texas economy added 54,500 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in November. Annual employment growth for Texas increased to 2.7 percent in November, marking 91 consecutive months of annual growth.

“The addition of 330,600 jobs over the year demonstrates the consistency with which employers in our state create job opportunities for the highly skilled Texas workforce,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “The Texas economy offers employers access to a competitive workforce and provides job seekers with career options in a variety of growing Texas industries.”

Nine of eleven major industries showed increased growth in November, including professional and business services with 14,700 jobs added and construction which added 8,200 positions. Leisure and hospitality employment continued to grow by adding 8,000 jobs in November.

Employment in education and health services increased by 8,200 positions. Over the year, this industry has gained 40,400 jobs. Trade, transportation and utilities employment grew by 8,200 jobs, and manufacturing industry jobs increased by 2,700 positions.

The Amarillo-Midland areas recorded the month’s lowest unemployment rate in the state at 2.6 percent.

“Employment demand continues to be high in well-paying industries such as manufacturing, construction and mining and logging,” said TWC Commissioner Julian Alvarez, who represents labor. “I encourage career exploration in these and other industries that are growing in Texas.”

Jobless rates

                                    Nov. 2017   Oct. 2017    Nov. 2016

Brownsville-Harlingen         5.8%          5.5%            7.0%

McAllen-Edining-Mission      6.2%          5.6%            7.6%

Laredo                               3.4%          3.2%            4.4%

San Antonio-New Braunfels 3.0%         2.9%             3.7%

Texas                                  3.7%         3.5%            4.5%

United States                       3.9%         3.9%            4.4%

Source: Texas Workforce Commission