• September 2, 2014

Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood unemployment rate climbs

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Posted: Saturday, March 8, 2014 4:30 am

The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood Metropolitan Statistical Area’s unemployment rate and the state’s rate each rose 0.2 percent between December and January.

The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area’s unemployment rate climbed from 6.4 percent to 6.6 percent, meaning about 200 more people were claiming unemployment, according to nonseasonally adjusted figures from the Texas Workforce Commission. About 1,200 fewer people were employed, but the workforce also shrank by about 1,000 people between the two months.

“We lost 1,600 jobs and 800 of them were trade, utility, transportation sector,” said Susan Kamas, Central Texas Workforce Development Board executive director.

Those jobs mostly were located in the trade industry, which included fields such as wholesale and some retail sale areas, Kamas said.

Those lost jobs can be attributed to seasonal positions.

Another 400 positions were lost in the government job sector, which are mostly defense-related work, she said.

However, local unemployment rate is still down from 7.7 percent in January 2013, when 13,200 people claimed unemployment.

Kamas anticipates the rate will continue to decrease throughout the year as was happening before January.

There is a lot of construction activity throughout the area and summer hiring should be starting. The largest industry that saw job growth between December and January was the professional and business services, Kamas said. More than 100 jobs were added to the sector.

Those jobs can mostly be attributed to entities that are providing tax services.

Texas’ rate rose from 5.6 to 5.8 percent, with about 20,900 more people claiming unemployment, the release stated about nonseasonally adjusted figures.

There were 67,200 fewer people employed in the state, and the labor force decreased by 46,300 people.

Seasonally adjusted figures boasted a 5.7 January unemployment rate for the state, according to the Workforce Commission. The number dropped from a rate of 6 percent in December.

The workforce said 33,900 jobs were created in the state.

“The decline in our state’s unemployment rate and the addition of 33,900 jobs in January are positive signs, and I’m encouraged that the Texas economy has started the year on a strong note,” said Andres Alcantar, Texas Workforce Commission chairman.

The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in February, a respectable gain that nearly matched the average monthly increase for the past two years.

Yet, the unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent from 6.6 percent.

mcanales@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7554

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