Local jobless rate ticks up

HARLINGEN — The Brownsville-Harlingen area’s jobless rate rose slightly to 6 percent for December from 5.8 percent the month before, but still shows a significant improvement over a year ago.

The Texas Workforce Commission’s unemployment figures released Friday show Brownsville-Harlingen’s jobless rate for December 2016 was 7.4 percent.

Nationally, the jobless rate was 3.9 percent for December, which was unchanged from the previous month. A year ago, however, the jobless rate was 4.5 percent.

Statewide, Texas was under the national average with a jobless rate of 3.7 percent, also unchanged from November, but an improvement on December 2016’s rate of 4.5 percent.

“Texas ended 2017 with record-level job creation numbers during the fourth quarter, with 10 of 11 industries expanding over the year and an annual gain of 306,900 jobs,” Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar said in a statement.

“TWC looks forward to another year of strong partnerships with innovative Texas employers as they continue to create valuable opportunities for the Texas workforce and contribute to our state’s economic success.”

Texas industries which added jobs in December included leisure and hospitality, up 6,800 jobs; construction added 4,300 jobs; and information, which added 3,600 jobs, and includes traditional and software publishing, data processing and hosting, and telecommunications companies.

The Amarillo and Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) recorded the month’s lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 2.5 percent, followed by the Austin-Round Rock, College Station-Bryan and Lubbock MSAs, which tied for the second lowest with a rate of 2.7 percent. The San Angelo, San Antonio-New Braunfels and Sherman-Denison MSAs also tied for the third lowest rate of 3 percent for December.

“The unemployment rate in Texas fell nearly a point over the year 2017, which is great news for workers in the Lone Star State,” said Julian Alvarez, TWC commissioner representing labor.

“Positive economic growth means continued opportunities for the expanding labor force here in Texas.”

Jobless rate numbers

Dec. 2017 Dec. 2016

U.S. 3.9 percent 4.5 percent

Texas 3.7 4.5

Bville-Harl 6.0 7.4

McAllen-Edin 6.7 8.2

C.C. 5.2 6.2

San Antonio 3.0 3.6

Houston 4.3 5.3

Source: Texas Workforce Commission