|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - March 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
County jobless rate rises to 8.6%
Polk County Enterprise - March 2009
AUSTIN — Polk County’s unemployment rate rose 1.3 percent — from 7.3 percent to 8.6 percent from December to January, according to data released by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) this week. In January 2008, Polk County’s jobless rate was 6.7 percent. Of the 16,535 people in the county’s workforce, 1,427 don’t have jobs. During January, TWC added 166 workers and 62 fewer workers were listed as employed. The number of unemployed increased by 228 workers. The Deep East Texas Workforce Development Area had a January unemployment rate of 7.3 percent, up from 6.2 percent in December. In Deep East Texas 11,608 workers are without jobs even though the work force shrank by 770 people, according to TWC data. The January report shows 2,460 fewer workers are employed; and 1,690 more are unemployed. That nearly 1,000 worker discrepancy would include retirees and those leaving jobs who are not seeking another position. The highest unemployment rate in the Deep East Texas area is Sabine County with 13.4 percent. That’s up a point from the December report of 12.1. Sabine County had 3,468 workers in January, up 31 from December’s workforce of 3,437. The number of unemployed rose from 415 in December to 464 in January. Unemployment fi gures for the rest of the Deep East Texas area include: Angelina — 6.2 percent; up from 5.5 in December and 4.8 in January 2008. Houston — 8.1 percent; up from 7.2 in December and 6.3 in January 2008. Jasper — 8.7 percent; up from 7.4 in December and 6.6 in January 2008. Nacogdoches — 5.5 percent; up from 4.5 percent in December and 4.2 in January 2008. San Augustine — 9.3 percent; up from 7.7 percent in December and 6.1 in January 2008. San Jacinto — 7.5 percent; up from 6.0 percent in December and 5.7 in January 2008. Trinity — 7.6 percent; up from 6.7 in December and 5.2 percent in January 2008. Tyler — 8.5 percent; up from 7 percent in December and 6 percent in January 2008. Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 6.4 percent in January, while the U.S. unemployment rate climbed to 7.6 percent. Texas’ unemployment rate has consistently remained well below the national rate for the past year. The Texas unemployment rate for January is up from a revised 5.6 percent in December and 4.4 percent a year ago. Texas’ seasonally adjusted nonagricultural employment fell by 75,800 jobs in January. Texas employers showed a net loss of 5,300 jobs over the year, compared with job losses of 3.5 million nationwide during the same period. Through October, Texas’ annual job growth far surpassed every state in the nation at 161,000 jobs. “The national economic crisis is beginning to have a serious, negative impact on our Texas economy,” said Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chairman Tom Pauken. Industry losses hit Manufacturing and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sectors the hardest, down 38,100 and 26,600 jobs, respectively. Trade, Transportation and Utilities includes wholesale and retail trades, air and rail transportation, and transmission of electric power and natural gas. Texas’ year-over-year figures continued to fare better, with more than half of the industry sectors still posting positive job growth and several industries showing gains in January. Education and Health Services grew by 3,200 positions for an industry gain of 50,100 jobs in the past year. Leisure and Hospitality continued its growth trend, adding 1,600 jobs in January and 17,400 jobs in the past 12 months. “Although the unemployment rate in Texas is lower than in other parts of the country, it has gone up in recent months and we are concerned,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “I encourage job seekers to seek assistance at more than 240 Texas workforce centers providing help with work search, skills training and other services.” The Midland MSA experienced the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted). The Amarillo MSA was second at 4.6 percent, followed by the Lubbock MSA at 4.7 percent. “The challenging national and global economic conditions are having a profound effect on Texas,” said TWC Commissioner Representing the Public Andres Alcantar. The annual March statistical revisions in the job growth and unemployment numbers reflect the collection of more accurate, end-of-the year data. 2008 job growth and unemployment have been adjusted accordingly.