Texas unemployment rate declines for seventh straight month

FILE (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

AUSTIN (AP) — The Texas unemployment rate slipped to 4.2 percent in March, marking the seventh straight month of declines due to continuing job growth, the Texas Workforce Commission said Friday.

Statewide unemployment in February was 4.3 percent. The nationwide jobless rate was 5.5 percent in March, the commission said.

Last month’s unemployment rate for Texas was the lowest since July 2007. Texas has added 327,500 jobs in the past year for an overall growth rate of 2.9 percent, outpacing the national growth rate of 2.3 percent, TWC said, in a statement.

“While the state of Texas has achieved enormous success in creating jobs and spurring economic growth, it’s time to renew our focus on promoting smarter tax policies that energize our economy and empower entrepreneurs to reinvest their capital in the Lone Star State,” Gov. Greg Abbott said, in response to the latest jobless figures.

Midland had the lowest average jobless rate for Texas during March at 2.9 percent. The state’s highest unemployment rate was the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area at 7.5 percent, according to TWC figures.

The education and health services industry added 3,400 jobs in March. The financial activities industry increased by 2,400 positions. The mining and logging industry, which includes oil and gas employment, saw a decline in March with the loss of about 2,800 jobs statewide.

“Maintaining a diversity of employment opportunities has kept Texas strong for the past four years,” said Andres Alcantar, TWC chairman. “We must continue to build and support partnerships that will help connect employers to a quality supply of skilled workers and equip job seekers with training that will help them succeed.”

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Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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