By Matt Goodman

Killeen Daily Herald

The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood Metropolitan Statistical Area decreased its unemployment rate by 0.2 percent in October, but experts warn that the change isn't enough to make a dent in the amount of residents looking for jobs.

"A 0.2 percentage point is not a dramatic shift," said Jerry Haisler, Workforce Solutions of Central Texas director. "It wouldn't be enough that you would see any kind of significant change in our traffic here at the Workforce Center. It continues to be very high."

In September, the MSA had 7.3 percent unemployment. In October, that dropped to 7.1 percent. Haisler said that the Workforce Center, which is a state-funded service that helps the unemployed find jobs, had about 12,000 people visit in September and 11,500 in October.

"There are a lot more people looking than there are jobs available," Haisler said. "That gets compounded the longeryou have folks on unemployment and so our traffic is very high."

Haisler said the defense contracting, education and health services sectors are often hiring, but many of the jobs are for those with specialized training.

"We're training lots of people in the area," he said, "because that's where some job growth has happened this year, particularly with the stimulus dollars that came down."

Texas added 41,700 jobs in October. The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent in September. Texas Workforce Commission chairman Tom Pauken shared Haisler's view: it's too soon, and too small an increase, to be in the clear.

"In October, the Texas job market regained some lost ground experienced over the past several months, although it is too soon to indicate a trend," Pauken said. "The Texas unemployment rate continues to edge upward as our state continues to feel the effects of the national economic downturn."

Contact Matt Goodman at or (254) 501-7550.

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