Texas added jobs for the eighth straight month in December, with the unemployment rate falling to 7.2% from 8.1% the previous month, the Texas Workforce Commission reports.

Numbers in the Rio Grande Valley also improved in December, but the region still lags far behind the rest of the state as the slow recovery from the impact of COVID-19 continues.

The jobless rate for the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area was the highest in the state in December at 11.7%, although that was an improvement over November’s 12.5%.

In the Brownsville-Harlingen MSA, the rate dropped from 11.2% in November to 10.3% in December. Only Odessa at 11.5% and Beaumont-Port Arthur at 11% had higher rates.

Texas added 64,200 non-agricultural positions in December.

“The private sector job growth we saw in December is promising,” said TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel.

In December, Professional and Business Services added 27,000 jobs. Trade, Transportation, and Utilities added 20,100 jobs and Education and Health Services added 6,600 jobs.

“This month’s job numbers prove that high-skilled workers are in-demand,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez.

The Amarillo MSA recorded December’s lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 4.9%, followed by the College Station-Bryan MSA with the second-lowest rate of 5.0%. The Austin-Round Rock MSA recorded the third-lowest rate of 5.1%.