Valley jobless rates rise in December

HARLINGEN — The jobless rate in the Brownsville-Harlingen Metropolitan Statistical Area rose from 5.4 percent to 5.8 percent in December, which was exactly the number the area recorded the previous year.

The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA showed a sharp spike for December, rising from 6.1 percent in November to 7.0 percent in December. A year ago, the jobless rate was 6.6 percent.

Texas-wide, the jobless rate ticked up from 3.4 percent to 3.5 percent for December after months of matching the state’s best jobless numbers since tracking began in 1976.

Texas added 29,800 jobs for the month.

“As we reflect on 2019, it is clear that it was a strong year for the Texas economy thanks to the continued leadership of Governor Abbott, and the hard work of our Texas workforce and employers,” said TWC Chairman and Commissioner Representing the Public Bryan Daniel. “Our current economic climate creates opportunities for our skilled workforce and success for employers. We look forward to continued growth in our great state throughout 2020.”

Texas employers added 342,800 jobs in 2019. Total nonfarm annual employment growth was at 2.7 percent in December and has held at or above 2.0 percent since February 2018.

“Our workforce continues to grow and is now 14,188,100 Texans strong,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “My office is committed to ensuring each and every member of our labor force has access to the resources necessary to succeed.”

Leading monthly job growth in December was the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities industry, which added 11,600 jobs, followed by the Professional and Business Services sector which added 10,500 jobs. Financial Activities added 6,700 jobs.

The Midland MSA recorded December’s lowest unemployment rate in the state with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 2.1 percent, followed by the Amarillo at 2.3 percent. Austin-Round Rock recorded the third lowest rate at 2.4 percent.

Texas jobless rates

Dec. 2019 Nov. 2019 Dec. 2018

Brownsville-Harlingen 5.8 percent 5.4 percent 5.8 percent

McAllen-Edin-Mission 7.0 percent 6.1 percent 6.6 percent

San Antonio-New Brn 2.8 percent 2.9 percent 3.1 percent

Corpus Christi 4.2 percent 4.0 percent 4.5 percent

Source: Non-seasonally adjusted rates from Texas Workforce Commission