AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas unemployment rate slipped to 5.7 percent in January — the state's lowest jobless figure since November 2008, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Friday.
The seasonally adjusted jobless rate for January, the sixth straight month of declines in statewide unemployment, won praise from Gov. Rick Perry as a strong indicator of continued economic growth.
Perry, who spoke Friday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in suburban Maryland, released a statement praising the Texas job situation.
"Every day, more Texans are going to work, earning a living and supporting their families because we follow a simple recipe for job creation: we keep our taxes low, our regulations effective and predictable, our courts fair and our schools accountable," Perry said. "That's why Texas has been the national epicenter for job creation for more than a decade, and today's numbers indicate we're not slowing down anytime soon."
The nationwide jobless rate stood at 6.6 percent in January.
Texas employers expanded their payrolls in January by adding 33,900 seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs, for a total of 322,400 jobs added over the year, according to the commission.
"The decline in our state's unemployment rate and the addition of 33,900 jobs in January are positive signs, and I'm encouraged that the Texas economy has started the year on a strong note," said Andres Alcantar, the commission chairman. "All 11 major industries added jobs over the year, highlighting the favorable economic conditions in Texas for employers and job seekers."
The trade, transportation and utilities industry added the greatest number of jobs in January, expanding by 7,600 positions. The industry also reported the highest number of jobs added over the last year, 77,300, commission officials said.
The mining and logging industry, which includes oil and gas related jobs, added 3,200 positions in January, for a total of 15,800 jobs over the year and an annual growth rate of 5.6 percent — the highest among the state's major industries.
The Midland area had the state's lowest jobless rate in January at 2.9 percent. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area had the highest jobless rate in Texas at 10.5 percent.