The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood metropolitan statistical area’s unemployment rate declined below the national average in December.

Local jobs rose by about 200 for the month, according to data from the Central Texas Workforce Solutions, dropping the unemployment rate to 6.4 percent.

The national unemployment rate is 6.5.

254,400 jobs created in 2013

The Texas economy experienced job growth in the final month of 2013 with 17,600 more jobs after accounting for seasonally adjusted positions, stated a news release from the Texas Workforce Commission.

The figure means a total of 252,400 jobs were created in 2013.

Job growth helped decreased unemployment for the fifth consecutive month, down to 6 percent in December.

“The largest (industry sectors) increases were construction and education and health services,” said Kimberly Patterson, a business service manager with Central Texas Workforce Solutions.

The mining, logging and construction industry increased by 100 jobs, the education and health services industry increased by 100 jobs, and the trade, transportation and utilities industry experienced 200 more jobs.

The leisure and hospitality sector declined by about 200 jobs.

There has been a lot of growth with medical clinic expansions, Patterson said.

Highway construction and new home starts also may be a reason for such climbs in the industry.

Positive trend

According to the state commission’s data, the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area’s labor force grew by about 400 people between November and December.

The number of unemployed people, however, decreased by 300 causing the unemployment rate to decrease from 6.6 percent in November to 6.4 in December.

Patterson said the trend is a positive one that the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area should continue to see throughout the year.

“We continue to see growth across major industries in Texas, with all of them adding jobs over the year,” said Andres Alcantar, Texas Workforce Commission chairman.

“I encourage everyone who is looking for work in Texas to visit one of our local Workforce Solutions offices across the state.”

Contact Mason W. Canales at ​ or (254) 501-7474

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