The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the state of Texas in December fell to 7.8 percent, down from 8.1 percent in November and reaching its lowest level since July 2009, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).
The state added 20,200 nonfarm jobs last month making a total of 204,500 positions created over the past year, reports local ABC affiliate KXXV. According to the news source, the state has experienced positive annual job growth for 20 consecutive months with annual growth rates of at least 2 percent for the last seven months.
Tom Pauken, chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission, said in a statement that the monthly jobs report was a positive sign for the state, particularly when compared to the nation as a whole.
"Texas continues to see signs of improvement in the labor market," Pauken noted. "Texas' unemployment rate has decreased for the third consecutive month, and now stands at 7.8 percent, which is the lowest since July 2009. Our state's unemployment rate remains below the national unemployment rate of 8.5 percent."
A number of industries experienced job growth across the state in December, including leisure and hospitality, which added 4,100 new positions, the news source reported. Manufacturing added 2,200 new jobs, mining and lodging grew by 2,000 and financial activity employment increased by 2,100 jobs.
"Eight of the 11 major industries in Texas added jobs in December, and that's good news for job seekers," noted Andres Alcantar, TWC commissioner representing the public.
Companies that look to increase customer service operations are also helping to improve the state's economic picture. These companies, which often retain the services of staffing agencies, often look to Austin because of its strong labor pool.
"We love to hire in Austin, and we want to make sure we're the best employer in town," John Hoppes, the national employment director for one auto insurer adding 185 new call center positions, told the Austin American-Statesman. "We find that employees in Austin really have what we're looking for. They have a real passion for great customer service, and it's a great place for us to find bilingual employees."
The new Austin jobs are part of a national expansion for the company, which is adding more than 1,000 new customer service positions across the country, according to the news source.