Herald staff and wire reports

AUSTIN — State officials said the Texas unemployment rate remained essentially flat as 19,500 jobs were added to the workforce in May.

The Texas Workforce Commission announced Friday that the unemployment rate rose slightly from 6.4 percent in April to 6.5 percent. The rate remains a full point below the national rate for May of 7.6 percent.

In Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, the unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent in May, up from 6.9 percent in April, but less than 7.6 percent in May 2012.

Officials said Texas added 324,700 jobs since May 2012, driven largely by growth in the health services, education and construction sectors.

“I’m encouraged that Texas job seekers continue to find work,” said Ronny Congleton, TWC commissioner representing labor. “Despite the slight increase in the unemployment rate in May, Texas’ civilian labor force, the second largest in the nation, continues to grow, and that’s a positive sign.”

Midland continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in Texas at 3.4 percent, followed by Odessa at 4.1 percent. The highest rate for May was recorded in the McAllen-Mission-Edinburg region at 10.9 percent, with the Brownsville-Harlingen area at 10.4 percent. The Waco area was 6.3 percent.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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