Texas unemployment rate drops to 4.4 percent in January, 5th straight month of decline

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

The unemployment rate in Texas fell to 4.4 percent in January, marking the fifth straight month of declines, the Texas Workforce Commission said Friday.

The December jobless rate was 4.6 percent, according to agency figures.

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The commission said the state added 20,100 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in January for a total increase of 392,900 jobs over the year.

"This latest labor market data indicates that our state is approaching the 12 million jobs milestone, with 11,769,600 jobs now in Texas," said Hope Andrade, a commission member who represents employers.

The greatest gains seen in January were in the industry consisting of trade, transportation and utilities. There were 10,900 jobs added in that industry.

Other major industries that made notable job gains in January included professional and business services with 4,800 positions added.

Gov. Greg Abbott said that "while the January job numbers are a testament of the strength of Texas' economy, there is more we must do to boost our job market beyond our borders and compete on the global stage.

"By diversifying investments, streamlining regulations and reducing the business franchise tax, we will cultivate an even stronger, more effective economy where all Texans are afforded the opportunity to innovate and to prosper," he said.

The Midland area had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 2.6 percent while the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area had the state's highest unemployment rate, at 8.3 percent.