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Texas Jobless Rate Declines For 4th Straight Month

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) â¿¿ The Texas jobless rate slipped to 6.1 percent in December, marking the fourth straight month of declines, the Texas Workforce Commission announced Friday.

The December figure was down from 6.2 percent in November and compares to a 7.4 percent rate a year ago.

The commission said Texas employers added 4,100 nonfarm jobs in December for a total of 260,800 jobs added over the year. Six of 11 major industries in Texas added jobs in December, led by 13,300 added in professional and business services.

Commission chairman Andres Alcantar said 2012 was a strong year for the Texas economy with overall annual growth of 2.5 percent.

"With those positive strides and 11,800 private-sector jobs added in the past month, 2012 was a strong year for Texas, and my hope is that the Texas economy will build on that success in 2013," Alcantar said.

Manufacturing added 3,000 jobs between November and December and another goods-producing industry, mining and logging, expanded by 1,600 jobs during that time, according to the commission.

Service industries that showed positive growth over the month included those related to education, health, trade, transportation and utilities, the commission said.

Commissioner Tom Pauken said Texas' robust energy sector "not only is creating good-paying jobs for many Texans in that industry, but also is spurring job growth in many other industries."

Midland had the lowest December unemployment rate in the state at 3.1 percent. Odessa came in second at 3.7 percent, and Amarillo was third at 4.1 percent.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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