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Jobless rate falls in Southeast Texas

BEAUMONT/Port Arthur - The unemployment rate in Southeast Texas is falling.

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According to a report the Texas Workforce Commission released Friday, the jobless rate in Beaumont-Port Arthur was 6.4% in December 2014. That's down from 9.2% in December 2013 and a drop from the 6.9% rate in November 2014.

AUSTIN –From Texas Workforce Commission

Texas employers added jobs in impressive fashion in 2014 with the increase of 457,900 seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs over the year. December was the fifth straight month of record-breaking annual job growth for the Lone Star State. Over the month, the state gained 45,700 jobs, marking 51 straight months of employment growth.

In addition, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in December down from 4.9 percent in November, and down from 6.0 percent a year ago. This was the lowest Texas unemployment rate since May 2008.

"Texas finished 2014 on a positive note adding 457,900 jobs over the year, its fifth straight month of record-setting annual job growth," said Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chairman Andres Alcantar. "Every major industry added jobs over the year, benefiting from a strong business climate and a growing, competitive and high quality Texas workforce."

Seven of 11 major industries saw an increase in jobs in Texas in December. Those increases included 14,800 positions in Professional and Business Services, 6,800 jobs in Education and Health Services and 5,100 Construction jobs added.

"The state’s steady job growth is great news for Texas workers," said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. "We continue to work with our local Workforce Solutions partners to strive for an environment where there is a good-paying job for every Texan who wants one. Many great opportunities can be found on We encourage employers and job seekers to use this valuable resource."

Mining and Logging employment rebounded in December, adding 4,900 jobs after a loss of 2,400 positions in November. This was the second largest monthly gain for the year for the industry, which saw an 11.5 percent annual growth rate over the year with the addition of 33,900 positions. Job gains were also seen in the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities industry with 5,900 positions added in December.

"Texas’ private-sector employers added 420,200 jobs over the year," said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Hope Andrade. "This growth continues to position our state as one of the best places in the world to live, work and do business."

The Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had the lowest December unemployment rate in the state at 2.1 percent. The Odessa MSA came in second at 2.6 percent and the Amarillo MSA ranked third at 2.9 percent (not seasonally adjusted).

Audio downloads from Commissioner Alcantar on the latest labor market data are available at: Employment estimates released by TWC are produced in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. All estimates are subject to revision. To access this and more employment data, visit

No injuries after hard landing at Kirbyville airport

KIRBYVILLE - A pilot and his father walked away from a hard landing at the Kirbyville airport Saturday.

According to the DPS, Stacy Moore, 37, of Slidell, Louisiana, and his father, Anthony Moore, 66, were not injured.  

At about 1:50 p.m., the Texas Department of Public Safety received a call reporting a plane crash at the Kirbyville Airport in Jasper County. 

According to the pilot, he took off from the Kirbyville Airport in a Mooney N-10 Cadet aircraft.  As soon as he was in the air, he experienced strong crosswinds and lost control of the plane.  The plane crashed near runway 31 at the Kirbyville airport. 

At this time, there are no confirmed injuries and Troopers are en route to the crash scene to interview the pilot.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified.


Off-duty officer helps catch men accused of robbing employees at Whataburger inside Mont Belvieu Walmart

CHAMBERS COUNTY - The Chambers County Sheriff's Office has arrested several men accused of ordering employees to the floor at gunpoint and robbing the Whataburger inside the new Walmart in Mont Belvieu.

No one was hurt and investigators caught three of the four accused of taking part in the crime.

Sheriff Brian Hawthorne says at about 2 a.m. January 23, two men walked into the new Walmart on Higway 146, south of Interstate 10 in Mont Belvieu, and went to the Whataburger restaurant inside the store. They ordered employees to the floor at gunpoint.

Off duty officer Travis Mendenhall with the Mont Belvieu Police Department was at the Whataburger and notified 911 while observing at a distance. As the men drove away, Officer Mendenhall followed the vehicle and continued giving a description including the direction of travel. Baytown Police stopped the vehicle at the Interstate 10 and John Martin Road exit.

Taken into custody are: David Brown, b/m, 30 years old, Lionel Biggs, b/m, 28 years old, Jovanni Rubin, b/m, 20 years old.

Investigators say James Lindsey, b/m, 25 years old, was able to escape and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. All four suspects are from the Houston area.  

“I salute the keen observation and professionalism of Mont Belvieu Police Officer Travis Mendenhall for contacting the sheriff’s office and coordinating with Baytown Police Department to apprehend these career criminals” said Sheriff Hawthorne. 

This case has been turned over to the Chambers County Criminal Investigations Division and anyone with information about the case is urged to contact the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division at: 409-267-2500.

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