• November 27, 2014

Central Texas unemployment rises slightly

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Posted: Saturday, August 16, 2014 4:30 am

TEMPLE — Central Texas unemployment is slightly above the national average, according to figures the Texas Workforce Commission released Friday.

Killeen’s unemployment rate increased 0.2 percent to 6.9 percent from June, but remains well below the 8.1 percent from last year.

Harker Heights’ unemployment climbed to 6.1 percent from last month’s 5.7 percent. Last year, Harker Heights’ jobless claims were at 7.1 percent.

Copperas Cove’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.5 percent to 6 percent, a further decrease from July 2013’s rate of 7.8 percent.

Temple’s jobless rate of 5 percent remained flat from month to month. Temple’s jobless rate in July of last year was 5.7 percent.

Charley Ayers, vice president of Temple’s Economic Development Corporation, said even though low unemployment can be a double-edged sword for a city — a working populace can make it harder to attract businesses — Temple’s economy is still growing.

“We continue to see interest in this area,” Ayers said, adding seasonal increases in unemployment are common. “People tend to use the summer months to transition to new areas and new careers.”

Bell County’s unemployment rate was 6.3 percent for July, up from 6.1 percent from June. Last year, Bell County’s jobless rate was 7.3 percent.

Milam County posted a 6.4 percent jobless rate for July, up from 6.0 in June, which is well below July 2013’s rate of 7.2 percent.

Coryell County’s unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percent from June to 7.2 percent, the highest in the area. Coryell County’s jobless claims are still below July 2013’s 9.2 percent.

The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood unemployment rate came in at 6.4 percent for July, up from 6.2 percent in June. Last year, the area job market had a 7.6 percent jobless rate.

Texas’ statewide unemployment rate held steady at 5.1 percent in July, down from last year’s 6.7 percent, and eight of the state’s 11 major industries reported annual growth rates above 3 percent. Professional and business services was the fastest-growing sector of the economy, adding 10,600 jobs.

The Midland area had the lowest unemployment rate in Texas last month at 2.9 percent. Neighboring Odessa was 3.6 percent. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area had the highest statewide unemployment at 9.9 percent, according to Texas Workforce Commission figures.

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