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January 30, 2013     Hays Free Press
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Page 4D BUSINESS Hay~ Free Press * January 30, 2013 + unem BY TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSION Special to Hays Free Press Texas' unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent in December, down from 6.2 percent in November and from 7.4 percent a year ago. This marked the fourth straight month that the unemployment rate in Texas has de- dined. Texas employers added 4,100 total nonfarm jobs in December for a total of 260,800 jobs added over the year. In December 2012, Texas employers reported 10,904,000 total nonfarm jobs. "In December, we saw annual growth in 10 major industries, for an overall annual growth of 2.5 percent in Texas," said Texas Workforce Com- mission (TWC) Chairman Andres Alcantar. "With those positive strides and 11,800 private sector jobs added in the past month, 2012 was a strong year for Texas and my hope is that the Texas economy will build on that success in 2013." Six out of 11 major industries in Texas added jobs in December, led by 13,300 jobs added in Professional and Business Services - the largest over-the-month expansion for this industry since January 2012. "I'm glad to see the unemploy- ment rate has dropped by more than a full point over the course of the year," said TWC Commissioner Rep- resenting Labor Ronny Congleton. "Positive economic growth is good news for the workers of Texas, and TWC is committed to helping those still looking to get back to work." Manufacturing added 3,000 jobs between November and December, while another goods-producing in- dustry, mining and logging, expand- ed by 1,600 jobs during this time. Service-providing industries that also showed positive growth over the month included education and health services, other services, and trade, transportation and utilities. "Private sector employers in Texas added 257,400 jobs since Decem- ber 2011 for an annual growth rate of 2.9 percent," said TWC Commis- sioner Representing Employers Tom Pauken. "Texas is leading the way in helping to make the United States energy indepen- dent. Our robust energy sector not only is creating good paying jobs for many Texans in that industry but also is spur- ring job growth in many other indus- tries." The Midland Metropolitan Sta- tistical Area (MSA) had the lowest December unem- ployment rate in the state at 3.1 per- cent. The Odessa MSA came in sec- ond at 3.7 percent, and the Amarillo MSA third at 4.1 percent (not season- ally adjusted). "Texas isi ing to make t sector paying j industry growth in ................... :., ........ -Tom Pauken, )MfO C, dmmissioner Repl~senting Employers PHOTO BY BEN PHILPOTF Capital Highlights Continued from pg. 1D sociation and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers filed suit against the EPA, arguing that enforcement of the rule presented unfair financial burdens and would have forced the closure of older power plants. Bills would curb So far, at least five state lawmakers are offering legisla- tion to make it illegal to read, write or send text messages while driving a motor vehicle in Texas. HB 27 by Rep. lYey Marti- nez-Fischer, D-San Antonio, has an exception for a peace officer or an emergency re- sponder if the text messaging is in connection with official duties. HB 63 by Rep. Tom Craddlck, R-Midland, includes exceptions for a citizens band radio or CB radio hybrid or a commercial two-way radio communication device and stipulates that it is a defense to prosecution if the driver was reading, selecting or entering a telephone number or name to make a phone call orto navigate using a global positioning service. HB 69 by Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-San Benlto, is much like the others, and Lucio has signed as joint author of Crad- dick's bill. HB 108 by Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring, would ban reading, writing or sending a text-based communication- including instant messaging, e-mail and textmessaging, tin- less the vehicle is stopped. SB 28 by Sen. Judith Zafflrini, D-Laredo, creates an excep- tion allowed use of a handheld wireless communication de- vice to report illegal activity or summon emergency help, and allows a political subdivision to adopt a local ordinance or rule that is more stringent that the various changes in the law she is proposing. "Ensuring the safety of our loved ones is a paramount issue," Lucio said. "The texting and driving ban will prevent the fatal accidents too many families have experienced." Ed Sterling works for the Texas Press Association and follows the Legislature for the association. edsterling@texaspress.com It's Ab Thyme (}A R I)EN CEN]7 ER 5i Rd.) + Twisted, bulging varicose veins can really keep you down. Get back on your feet with EVLT at the Austin Vein Center. EVLT is the no-surgery, no-scar laser treatment that eliminates varicose veins and their pain and discomfort. You'll be amazed at how quickly you get better and how great you feel and look. Call us now at 512.453.6100 for your free consultation. 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