AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The Texas unemployment rate slipped to 6.6 percent in October, marking the second straight month of decline, according to state job figures released Friday.
The figures announced by the Texas Workforce Commission are slightly lower than September's 6.8 percent unemployment and keep the state well below the national rate of 7.9 percent.
"Private sector employers in Texas continue to drive our state's economic growth," said Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar, noting that the state added 269,000 private sector jobs over the last year for an annual growth rate of 3 percent.
The Austin-based commission said employers across Texas added 36,600 total nonfarm jobs in October for a total of 277,400 jobs added over the year.
Over the last year, 10 of 11 major industries in Texas have shown positive growth, and six of those industries displayed monthly gains in October, the commission said.
Education and health services grew more than any other industry last month, adding 13,700 jobs for the largest monthly gain in the series' history. For the year, the industry has added more than 43,000 jobs and it's one of four industries in Texas showing an annual growth rate of 3 percent or higher.
Leisure and hospitality employment expanded by 8,700 positions in October. That industry has added 51,800 jobs over the past year, more than any other, according to the commission.
The Midland area had the lowest October unemployment rate in Texas at 3.3 percent; the Odessa area was second at 3.9 percent, and the Amarillo area third at 4.3 percent.