Texas continues to add jobs into the holiday season.

The private sector added 13,500 jobs in October, bringing the total nonfarm employment expansion to 231,600 jobs for the year. Overall, the state has reached an estimated 10,616,500 positions last month.

Job growth has been positive in Texas for the last 18 months, with annual growth rates over 2 percent for the past five months.

Texas’ unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percent to 8.4 percent for October, remaining well below the national unemployment rate of 9 percent.

Lubbock’s unemployment rate dropped from September 2011’s 6.5 percent to 6.1 percent in October, still up slightly from October 2010’s 6 percent.

Abilene’s unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percent to 6.8 percent, Odessa’s rate dropped from September’s 6.2 percent to 5.7 percent, and San Angelo’s rate dropped half a percent to 6.3 percent.

The highest recorded unemployment rate in Texas is in the Brownsville/Harlingen area at 11.9 percent, down from September’s 12.4 percent. The lowest rate in the state is in Midland, where the rate dropped four-tenths of a percent to 4.5 percent. The second-lowest unemployment rate statewide is in Amarillo at 5.6 percent, down from September’s 6 percent.

Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken said “Private employers continue to invest their capital into the growing Texas workforce.”

Andres Alcantar, TWC commissioner representing the public said “Texas’ unemployment rate is going down even as its civilian labor force has grown to more than 12.3 million. We encourage those looking for work to utilize Workforce Solutions services to connect with job opportunities in our growing industries.”