By Justin Cox
Killeen Daily Herald
Most communities in Texas have seen an overall rise in the number of jobs created during the past year, and Killeen is no different.
The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area has seen an increase of nearly 3,000 jobs during the past year, rising to an estimated 155,200 in the civilian labor force, an increase from 152,400 from August of last year.
Though that number has actually declined from the July figure of 156,800, Jerry Haisler, director of the Central Texas Workforce Center, said that is normal for this time of year.
"There's a lot of fluctuation at the end of the summer because a lot of people who have jobs are leaving them," Haisler said. "Right now, the job market seems to be strong and there continues to be strong job development."
Haisler expects that trend to continue in the months ahead.
"There's no drop-off in the job market right now. That's true in Killeen and in the Temple area as well. There's strong growth in the area right now, and with the defense contractor activity in Fort Hood," he said.
Across the state, employment in Texas increased by 22,600 jobs in August alone and 234,800 in the past 12 months, leading to a 2.4 percent growth rate over the past year. Texas is one of the leaders nationwide in that category; the nation's growth rate is 1.3 percent over that same period.
Texas has seen a rise in jobs for 23 straight months, and 36 of the last 37. More than 651,100 jobs have been added since July 2003.
The Texas labor market is enjoying a period of sustained job growth, and nonagricultural employment in the state reflects that, now standing at an all-time-record high 9.99 million jobs, said Ron Lehman, Texas Workforce commissioner representing employers.
"Business expansion across the state has been steady, underpinning economic growth in many different sectors."
The statewide unemployment rate has gradually decreased in the past three years in Texas. In Killeen, the unemployment rate has actually gone up from 5.3 percent last August, and is currently at 5.7. But Haisler said that that is because of the continuing growth of the community.
"The decline in the statewide unemployment rate is welcome, as Texas continues the steady job growth of the last several years," said TWC Chair Diane Rath. "Job growth continues to be healthy, as every major industry added jobs in August and all but two added jobs over the year."
Contact Justin Cox at email@example.com