Big Thicket Messenger - October 2007
Statewide, August’s actual unemployment rate of 4.1% was down from the 4.8% figure posted in July. It also was down from the 5.0% rate for August 2006.
When seasonal factors are calculated to the equation, the state’s August unemployment was 4.2%, down slightly from the 4.4% rate posted in July. The latest seasonally adjusted rate was down from the 4.6% rate recorded in August 2006.
August’s seasonally adjusted U.S. rate of 4.6% was unchanged from the July level. It was, however, down slightly from the 4.7% figure recorded for August 2006.
In the report, TWC officials noted seasonally adjusted nonagricultural employment in Texas grew by 10,400 jobs in August despite the U.S. economy’s loss of 4,000 jobs. Texas employers added 229,000 jobs in the past year.
“Our strong Texas economy continues to surpass national trends, with employers adding jobs statewide again this month,” said TWC Chair Diane Rath. “At 4.2%, the Texas unemployment rate continues to hover at 30-year record lows and remains well below the national unemployment rate of 4.6%.”
The Service Providing sector showed the largest gains. Professional & Business Services showed significant gains of 5,500 jobs, after a banner July, when the industry added 7,500 positions. The industry now stands at a solid 5.1% annual growth rate, bringing 62,100 jobs to the Texas economy over the past 12 months.
Government jobs also contributed to the state’s economic health, adding 6,800 positions in August.
“Employers are adding jobs in a wide variety of industries and I’m particularly encouraged by the strong showing in the Service Providing sector,” said TWC Employer Ron Lehman. “Texas’ annual job growth rate now stands at 2.3%, well above the national rate of 1.2%,” Lehman added.
The Leisure & Hospitality Sector added 3,500 jobs, following an increase of 1,300 jobs in July. This represents an annual growth rate of 4.4%.
Natural Resources & Mining increased by 1,600 jobs in August and has added 16,500 jobs over the year for a strong annual growth rate of 8.8%.
The Education & Health Services sector created another 1,600 jobs in August, adding to July’s tally of 2,800 positions.
“There are 229,000 more jobs in Texas as compared to this time last year,” said TWC Labor Commissioner Ronny Congleton. “Our state offers many opportunities to Texans seeking jobs.”
Of the state’s 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), the highest jobless rate was the 6.1% figure recorded for the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA.
Next were the Brownsville-Harlingen MSA at 5.6%, the El Paso MSA at 5.5%. Beaumont-Port Arthur MSA showed 5.3%, with the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, Sherman-Denison and Texarkana MSA’s all tied at 4.5%. The Laredo MSA was at 4.4% and the Corpus Christi MSA followed at 4.3%.
The MSA with the lowest unemployment during the month was the Midland MSA at 2.8%, followed by the Amarillo and Odessa MSAs tied at 3.3%. The Austin-Round Rock, Lubbock and San Angelo MSAs tied at 3.5% followed by the Victoria MSA at 3.6%. College Station-Bryan MSA was at 3.7% and the Longview and Wichita Falls MSAs tied at 3.9%.
Big Thicket area counties showed Liberty County at a rate of 4.9% with a labor force of 32,580. There were 30,988 employed workers with 1,592 unemployed. Polk County was at 5.7%, down 0.8%. San Jacinto County results showed 5.9%, down by 0.6%, followed closely by Hardin County at 5.2%, down 0.5%.