By Anthony Scott

Killeen Daily Herald

More residents in Killeen are being left to hunt for work as July numbers presented to council members indicated that the city unemployment rate hit a record high for the year and surpassed the state average.

The numbers, which came out at the city's quarterly finance report at the council's Tuesday workshop, indicated that the city's July unemployment numbers hit a yearly high of 8.6 percent, higher than the state's 8.5 percent mark.

Unemployment numbers have since dropped down to 8.5 percent in Killeen in August, the most recent statistic available from the Texas Workforce Commission. Unemployment rates have not been this high in at least two years.

In the region as a whole, the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area is doing better than Killeen by itself. The commission lists the unemployment rate at 7.9 percent in August.

Around town residents continue to look for work, attempting to fill the limited number of positions in the area.

The lack of employment, doubled with limited government benefits, has made it difficult for many residents, said Latricia Nelson of Killeen, who is facing unemployment first hand.

A mother of two children, Nelson has been looking for work for about three years, and her unemployment benefits have since run out. Last week, she attended a job fair at the Civic Center.

"I really didn't care what it was, (I've applied at) a lot of places," she said. "I apply to it, and I'm over qualified."

Nelson has B.A. in criminal justice and an associates degree in mental health. She's been told she is overqualified for most jobs.

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