Unemployment in Houston has been on a downward track.<@SM>Houstonians have, on average, paid less in energy costs than other parts of the United States.

HOUSTON-The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recent economic report covering the Houston area notes that unemployment in the greater metro region was 6.2% in October, 2012 (the latest information available). That number is significantly less than the 7.7% the region experienced as of October, 2011.

The BLS compared the stats to the national unemployment figure in October, 2012, which was 7.5% (down from 8.5%, year over year). Montgomery County, on the northern edge of the metro area, reported unemployment at 5.6%. On the other end of the spectrum, Galveston County’s unemployment stood at 6.9%.

Though the unemployment stats present good news, there was a slight uptick in prices paid by urban consumers (CPI-U) for various categories. Houstonians are paying approximately 1.4% more for all items than last year (compared to the national year-over-year growth of 2.2%). What was striking about the BLS’ stats, however, is that Houstonians saw a sharp decrease of close to 5% in annual spending on energy. The U.S., as a whole, is paying 4% more for energy than it was a year ago.