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Unemployment drops to 6.8%

Courtesy Workforce Solutions Alamo

Workforce Solutions Alamo released information this week indicating that the San Antonio-New Braunfels metro area (SAMSA) job market experienced both seasonal job losses and job gains from November to December as total nonagricultural wage and salary employment decreased by -2,800 jobs (-0.3 percent) to 850,300. Since December 2010, 2,900 jobs were added to the MSA for an annual growth rate of 0.3 percent. Unemployment dropped to 6.8 percent in December, down from 7.0 percent reported in November.
Seasonal losses occurred in government, education and health services as public schools and colleges/universities released staff for the holiday break. Government reports an over-the-month loss of -500 jobs and education and health services -300 jobs. Leisure and hospitality reports -300 jobs as well as establishments scaled back for less patrons. On the seasonal upside, trade, transportation and utilities reports 1,300 jobs added since November as retailers hired to meet customer demand.
Each of the above sectors reports positive annual job gains, except government which downsized in the latter part of 2011 due to budget cuts. Government reports -5,100 jobs (-3.1 percent) since December 2010; education and health services reports a robust 7,000 jobs (5.3 percent) over-the-year; leisure and hospitality 900 jobs (0.9 percent); and, trade, transportation and utilities 4,900 jobs (3.4 percent).
"2011 gave us more people in the labor force as individuals from all over the country migrated here; more jobs, especially in non-traditional areas like oil and gas," said Patrick W. Newman, executive director of Workforce Solutions Alamo, "and ended with less people categorically unemployed. We'll take it."
Other over-the-month gains in December included 1,500 more jobs in professional and business Services, yet the industry continues to report annual losses of -4,400 jobs (-4.3 percent). No movement was reported for both mining and manufacturing between November and December; but, mining reports an annual gain of 500 jobs (14.3 percent) and manufacturing continues to improve with an annual gain of 1,500 jobs (3.4 percent).
The biggest losses in December were in construction and financial services. Construction reports over-the-month losses of -2,400 jobs, but not in the construction of buildings sub-sector.
"We attribute losses to the preparation of sites for new construction as the completion of the incomplete projects seems to be the primary focus of construction establishments right now," said Newman.
Financial services reports -1,800 jobs since November and -2,100 jobs since December 2010. Sub-sector losses occurred mostly amongst insurance carriers and credit intermediation areas.
Comparing the Workforce Solutions Alamo metro area to the state and nation, the Texas unadjusted (actual) unemployment rate decreased to 7.2 percent in December, down from 7.5 percent in November.
The nation's unadjusted (actual) unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.3 percent in December, up from 8.2 percent reported in October. Comparatively, the state and nation released seasonally adjusted unemployment rates with Texas decreasing to 7.8 percent in December and the nation's unemployment rate decreasing to 8.5 percent.