• August 31, 2014

Killeen-area jobless rate declines to 6.5 percent

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Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2012 4:30 am | Updated: 9:09 pm, Sat Aug 3, 2013.

The Killeen-area jobless rate hit an almost four-year low of 6.5 percent in November, the Texas Workforce Commission announced Friday.

The rate hasn’t been that low since December 2008, when it was also 6.5 percent.

“It’s great news,” said Susan Kamas, executive director of Workforce Solutions of Central Texas. “The economy in Texas overall is good. We have hundreds of people moving into the state on a weekly basis because of the prosperity.”

Sectors hiring locally include health care, manufacturing, call centers and service companies, Kamas said.

The Texas unemployment rate fell to 6.2 percent from 6.6 percent in October. Eight of 11 major industries added growth last month, but nearly every category has grown in 2012, the state commission said.

Trade, transportation and

utilities sectors led the way statewide.

“Texas employers added 278,000 jobs over the past 12 months with growth in 10 of 11 industry sectors during that period,” Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar said in a statement.

The national unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in November.

November’s improvement comes as local joblessness is on the decline from 7.0 percent in October and 7.8 percent a year ago.

Meanwhile, the Killeen-Temple labor force rose to 173,200, up 1,000 people from October and up 2,000 from November 2011.

In contrast, unemployment was on the increase in December 2008, the last time the area hit 6.5 percent.

“It continued to rise until late 2011 or early 2012,” Kamas said.

Commissioner Tom Pauken credited Texas’ jobs growth to the private sector, which is maintaining a 3.0 percent growth rate.

“Private sector employers continue to lead the way to growth and prosperity in Texas,” Pauken said.

Midland had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.0 percent. Odessa was second at 3.6 percent.

In Central Texas, Waco’s unemployment rate was 5.6 percent. Austin was lower at 4.9 percent, while Bryan-College Station was 5.1 percent.

In Killeen, unemployment was 6.8 percent in November, down from 7.6 percent in October. Copperas Cove was 6.6 percent, down from 7 percent in October, and Harker Heights was 5.9 percent, down from 6.3 percent in October.

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