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Greater Houston Adds 8,500 Jobs In December, Bringing Net Gain Of 23,200 For 2015

New jobs in health care, hospitality and leisure offset losses in manufacturing and oil and gas extraction.

The Houston metro area added roughly 8,500 jobs in the month of December, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. December’s total means the Houston region ended 2015 with a net gain of 23,200 jobs. That came despite thousands of layoffs throughout the year in both oil and gas extraction and in manufacturing.

“Probably the strongest sector of growth out there, or one of the strongest, was health care,” says Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership. “That’s been the direct beneficiary of all the hospitals that we’ve built in the region over the last few years. Another sector which proved to be real strong was leisure and hospitality. That’s been a beneficiary of all the hotels we’ve been building and the fact that Houstonians still like to eat out.”

The region’s unemployment rate came to 4.6 percent in December. That’s down from 4.9 percent in November.

But Jankowski says the drop is a cause for concern.

“We’re seeing people who’ve decided that they’re not going to look for work,” he says. “They’ve been laid off, and they figure they’re going to sit it out for a little while. If everybody who had lost a job was still actively looking for a job, our unemployment rate would actually be higher.”

Texas as a whole added 24,900 jobs last month. That brought the state’s total number of jobs gained for the year to 166,900.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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