AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The unemployment rate in Texas fell sharply to 6.8 percent in September, down from 7.1 percent in the largest one-month drop in nearly 30 years, according to state job figures released Friday.
The Texas Workforce Commission says the state added 21,000 nonfarm jobs, led by a gain of 13,600 jobs in professional and business services. The last time the Texas jobless rate dropped three-tenths of a percentage point in one month was October-November 1983, when it fell to 7.0 percent, according to commission data.
"Thanks to low taxes, a sensible regulatory environment and an entrepreneurial spirit, Texas remains the No. 1 state in America to do business," said Tom Pauken, the commission's former chairman who is now the commissioner representing employers.
Seven of the 11 major industries in Texas expanded in September. After professional and business services, the next biggest increase was in trade, transportation and utilities, which grew by 9,100 positions. The largest decrease was in mining and logging, which dropped by 4,200 jobs.
"It is clear that employers are benefiting from the available skilled workers in our state," said Ronny Congleton, the commissioner representing labor.
The national unemployment rate for September was 7.8 percent.
Unemployment rates are adjusted for seasonal trends in hiring and firing, which most economists believe gives a more accurate picture of the job market. Without the seasonal adjustment, the jobless rate in Texas was 6.3 percent in September, down from 7 percent in August.
The Midland area has by far the lowest unemployment rate in Texas at 3.3 percent. Nearby Odessa is second at 3.9 percent. The McAllen area still has the highest rate at 10.5 percent, but that figure has dropped nearly 2 percent since July. Local rates are not seasonally adjusted.
The preliminary local jobless rates for September, with revised August numbers in parentheses, were:
—Abilene 5.0 (5.7)
—Amarillo 4.4 (5.1)
—Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos 5.3 (5.9)
—Beaumont-Port Arthur 9.8 (10.7)
—Brownsville-Harlingen 10.2 (11.1)
—College Station-Bryan 5.5 (6.3)
—Corpus Christi 5.9 (6.5)
—Dallas-Plano-Irving 6.3 (6.9)
—El Paso 8.7 (9.5)
—Fort Worth-Arlington 6.2 (6.9)
—Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown 6.3 (7.0)
—Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood 7.0 (7.7)
—Laredo 6.4 (7.0)
—Longview 5.7 (6.2)
—Lubbock 5.0 (5.8)
—McAllen-Edinburg-Mission 10.5 (11.7)
—Midland 3.3 (3.8)
—Odessa 3.9 (4.5)
—San Angelo 4.8 (5.5)
—San Antonio-New Braunfels 6.0 (6.7)
—Sherman-Denison 6.6 (7.2)
—Texarkana 6.1 (6.7)
—Tyler 6.5 (7.2)
—Victoria 5.2 (5.7)
—Waco 6.0 (6.7)
—Wichita Falls 5.9 (6.6)