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Texas Jobless Rate Drops Slightly To 8.4 Percent

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AUSTIN (AP) - The unemployment rate in Texas dropped slightly to 8.4 percent in October from last month’s 8.5 percent, the state’s employment agency said Friday.

The Texas Workforce Commission said the state added 2,500 jobs in October as private-sector gains outweighed more cuts to the government payroll.

Texas’s unemployment rate remains below the national average, which was 9 percent last month.

“Private employers continue to invest their capital in the growing Texas workforce,” commission Chairman Tom Pauken said in a statement.

Since October 2010, the private sector has added 286,200 jobs, for a growth rate of 3.4 percent, he said.

Although six of the 11 sectors shed jobs last month, the largest gains were in leisure and hospitality, which added 14,900 jobs, and education and health services, where payrolls expanded by 6,600 positions. Employers in trade, transportation and utilities added 6,500 jobs.

The biggest losses were in construction, which fell by12,800 jobs, and government, where 11,000 positions were eliminated in October.

The payrolls for non-government jobs were boosted by a total of 13,500 new positions last month.

Unemployment rates are adjusted for seasonal trends in hiring and firing, which most economists believe give a more accurate picture of the job market. Without the seasonal adjustment, the jobless rate in Texas fell to 8.0 percent in October from 8.4 percent in September.

Midland maintained the lowest local unemployment rate at 4.5 percent. The Brownsville-Harlingen area has the highest rate at 11.9 percent, although that’s down from the revised September figure of 12.4 percent. Local figures are not seasonally adjusted.

The preliminary local jobless rates for October, with revised September numbers in parentheses, were:

– Abilene 6.8 (7.1)
– Amarillo 5.6 (6.0)
– Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos 7.1 (7.5)
– Beaumont-Port Arthur 10.8 (11.4)
– Brownsville-Harlingen 11.9 (12.4)
– College Station-Bryan 6.2 (6.6)
– Corpus Christi 7.6 (8.0)
– Dallas-Plano-Irving 8.1 (8.4)
– El Paso 10.2 (10.5)
– Fort Worth-Arlington 7.8 (8.2)
– Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown 8.1 (8.6)
– Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood 8.4 (8.8)
– Laredo 7.7 (8.2)
– Longview 6.8 (7.3)
– Lubbock 6.1 (6.5)
– McAllen-Edinburg-Mission 11.6 (12.2)
– Midland 4.5 (4.9)
– Odessa 5.7 (6.2)
– San Angelo 6.3 (6.8)
– San Antonio-New Braunfels 7.5 (8.0)
– Sherman-Denison 8.5 (8.8)
– Texarkana 7.4 (7.8)
– Tyler 8.5 (8.3)
– Victoria 6.8 (7.1)
– Waco 7.6 (8.0)
– Wichita Falls 7.2 (7.6)

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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