• December 20, 2014

Unemployment rate in Central Texas climbs slightly

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Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014 1:48 pm

The unemployment rate for the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood metropolitan statistical area climbed slightly again in February.

According to a Texas Workforce Commission news release, the rate rose by 0.1 percent, from 6.6 percent in January to 6.7 percent in February.

From December to January, the rate climbed by 0.2 percent.

“(That percentage) is really pretty minimal change,” said Jerry Haisler, Central Texas Workforce Centers director. “On the flip side, even though our unemployment is a little higher, we have active recruitments in our centers in the banking and finance industry, call center industry and the services industry.”

About 200 more people were claiming unemployment during February in the statistical area, the release stated.

Several smaller operations such an ALCOA plant in Rockdale, which let go of 64 employees, and the closing of Belton High Performance Rope Course, which employed 20 people, contributed to the increased rate, Haisler said.

“There are some small things that are happening and then you add on the normal attrition of soldiers exiting the military and that will add to the rate,” Haisler said.

About 700 more people were employed, but the labor force grew by more than 1,000 people, the release stated.

The jobless rate, however, was still lower than last February’s rate of 7.5 percent, when 12,500 claimed unemployment.

The statistical area’s rate is lower than the national average, 7 percent, but higher than the state’s average, 5.9 percent.

“Our rate has been consistently higher than the state average for the past three or four months,” Haisler said. “But our area is still doing well. Are people still looking for work? Yes. Are employers still looking for people to work? Yes.”

The state’s nonseasonally adjusted rate also was 0.1 percent higher for February than January, the released stated.

Texas employers added 37,600 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in February, the release stated.

With a revised gain of 43,000 jobs in January, the state boosted annual growth to 314,200 jobs.

“The Texas economy added 314,200 jobs over the year for an annual growth rate of 2.8 percent,” said Andres Alcantar, chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission. “I encourage job seekers to visit their local Workforce Solutions office to take advantage of the jobs being created across industries in Texas.”

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