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Texas, San Antonio ended 2018 with ultra low jobless rates

January 19, 2019

The Texas unemployment rate in December held at its historic low of 3.7 percent as employers added workers for a 30th consecutive month, according to government data.

Texas employers added 38,000 jobs in December, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. Over the year, they generated 391,800 jobs as total nonfarm employment reached a new high of 12,744,100.

“Texas is the place to be for job growth and economic development as Texas employers in our state continue to create job opportunities for the highly skilled Texas workforce,” said TWC Chair Ruth Hughs. “With mining and logging jobs, which includes oil and gas employment, up 18 percent from the prior year, our employers and our workers are providing the energy that fuels the U.S. economy.”

San Antonio’s jobless rate edged up slightly in December to 3.2 percent — higher than November’s 3.1 rate but still near historic lows for the area.

One drawback to unemployment rates this low: Many employers are struggling to find workers. That problem could slow the rate of job growth in San Antonio and across Texas in 2019, chief economist Keith Phillips of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas told San Antonio business leaders this week.

Tariffs and higher interest rates are also likely to contribute to a slowdown.

Oil prices plunged by nearly half in the fourth quarter of 2018, from about $76 a barrel in early October to $42 on Christmas Eve, before regaining the $50 a barrel mark in recent weeks. The indicators now point to a slowdown in the energy industry.

Statewide, 10 out of 11 major industries expanded over December as well as the year.

Construction added 4,500 jobs over the month. It grew at 6.4 percent over the year, second fastest among major industries in Texas. Its annual growth has stayed positive since September 2011.

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