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  • Saturday, January 23, 2016
    Jobless rate drops to 4.9%
    Washington County’s unemployment rate fell in December as its work force dropped and the number of people with jobs increased.
    Its jobless rate last month was 4.9 percent, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, a decline from 5.4 percent in November.

    The county had a labor force of 15,254 in December, with 753 unemployed.
    The November figures included a work force of 15,301, with 821 jobless.
    The December 2014 jobless rate was 3.5 percent (15,652 in work force, 548 unemployed).
    During 2015, Washington County’s unemployment rate averaged 4.65 percent. The labor force averaged 15,579 people and 723 jobless.
    Unemployment peaked at 5.5 percent in July, after a wave of layoffs hit several major employers in the county.
    Texas employers expanded their payrolls in December with the addition of 24,900 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs, marking the 10th month of job increases for Texas in 2015, the TWC said.
    “Texas finished 2015 on a strong note in December with employers adding 166,900 jobs over the year across a diverse range of industries,” said agency chairman Andres Alcantar. “Our state offers many advantages to employers who choose to do business in Texas and we are pleased employers continue to create opportunities for Texas workers.”
    Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 4.7 percent in December, up from 4.6 percent in November, but remained below the national average of 5 percent.
    Professional and business services employment surged in December with the addition of 12,500 positions. This marked the industry’s largest over-the-month gain since November 2014.
    The education and health services industry recorded the second largest employment gain over the month in Texas with 7,400 jobs added.
    This marked 21 consecutive months of growth within the industry and a total of 66,700 jobs added since January 2015.
    Jobless rates for surrounding counties in December were (the November comparisons are in parentheses):
    • Austin County — 4.5 percent (4.8).
    • Brazos County — 3.1 percent (3.4).
    • Burleson County — 4.4 percent (4.6).
    • Fayette County — 3.3 percent (3.5).
    • Grimes County — 5.5 percent (5.8).
    • Lee County — 3.4 percent (3.7).
    • Waller County — 4.8 percent (5.20.

    (Brenham Banner-Press)