By Don Bolding
Fort Hood Herald
Unemployment in the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) crept up from 4.5 percent in August to 4.8 percent in September, but the figures reflect an increased number of people in the civilian labor force.
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) recorded 149,100 people in the labor force in August and 150,300 in September. Of those, 142,400 had jobs in August and 143,100 in September, an increase of 700 actually employed. The increase in the labor force was 1,200.
Jerry Haisler, director of the Central Texas Workforce Center of Killeen, said the workforce increase is due to some people re-entering the job market after leaving summer jobs and others entering as children return to school.
The increase in available government jobs jumped from 32,000 to 32,800 as the school year started. The government category includes teachers and other school workers. Professional and business services added 400 jobs while mining and construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; and leisure and hospitality each lost 100. The total gain in available jobs was 800.
The unemployment rate in September 2006 was 5.1 percent, up .03 percent over a year ago. The unemployment rate this year has been steadily less than figures last year, and CTWC and Chamber of Commerce officials pointing to increased construction generating more jobs in all sectors of the economy as the reason.
The TWC in Austin said 200 jobs have been added in the MSA’s total inventory since January with monthly fluctuations taken into account. The local MSA includes Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties.
The unemployment rate in Texas also grew, from 4.1 to 4.4 percent, compared with 4.7 percent in September 2006. In the entire nation, the rate dropped from 4.6 to 4.5 percent, compared with 4.4 percent a year ago.
Across the state, the construction industry added 3,800 jobs in September. Education and health services grew by 3,100 positions, and leisure and hospitality added 4,200 jobs over the month.
“Texas employers continue to spark the state’s economy with the annual job growth rate at 2.2 percent, well above the national rate of 1.2 percent,” said Ronny Congleton, the TWC commissioner representing employers.
Contact Don Bolding at email@example.com or call (254) 501-7557