By Hailey Persinger
Killeen Daily Herald
Though Central Texas' unemployment rate lags behind that of the rest of the nation, a study by Texas A&M University's Real Estate Center shows a drop in all but two industries.
According to the Center's Metro Market Overview of the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood metropolitan statistical area, government and educational and health services are the only sectors of the job market that experienced growth in 2009.
Educational and health services grew by 4.6 percent and government by 4.7 percent, while industries like manufacturing, information and financial activities took the biggest hits.
Growth in manufacturing jobs is at the bottom of the list, dropping by 10.5 percent last year. Information services and financial activities show less of a decrease in job availability but still hover near the bottom of the list, with decreases of 7.7 and 6.8 percent respectively.
Jerry Haisler with the Central Texas Workforce Commission said the decrease in all but two sectors can be attributed to federal factors.
"With the passing of the American (Reinvestment and) Recovery Act, a lot of those funds came down to government entities, cities, counties other entities," Haisler said. "I don't think there were a huge amount of jobs created necessarily but there certainly was money being spent."
The ARRA, commonly known as the stimulus act, also supplied cities with dollars to hire temporary, part-time workers. Those numbers no doubt boosted the government sector's rank in the job market.
"We were able to resurrect and recreate a larger summer youth program, so we put 438 youth into summer jobs," Haisler said. "Otherwise we may have done 150, 200."
As for education, Haisler said the sheer size of the Killeen Independent School District makes its rank as second-largest employer in the area unsurprising. Last year, the district expected a drop in enrollment but by the end of the first day of school in August, 2,000 extra students had enrolled.
"They were predicting that their enrollments were going to remain static or even maybe decrease a little bit," Haisler said. "With more students then there come different kinds of jobs."
Haisler also cited Fort Hood as an obvious factor in the MSA's job availability. With 55,000 troops and their families on post, the government will always be a big part of the job market in Central Texas.
"None of that is any big surprise," he said.
Contact Hailey Persinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow her on Twitter at KDHcity.