April jobless rate falls to 9.7%

Milam dips below 10% for first time in three months
By KEN ESTEN COOKE Reporter Publisher

Milam County's jobless rate fell for the third straight month after the effect from industrial layoffs pushed it to 10.9 percent in January. Milam's rate for April was 9.7 percent, down from 10.4 in March, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) reported.

The county's rate was based on a labor force of 12,433 with 11,233 working and 1,200 unemployed.

Milam still ranks 11th in the state for highest jobless rate. Local TWC officials say there may be a slight uptick again once work at the Sandow 5 power plant project begins to taper off.

Milam's rate compares with a state rate of 6.4 percent and a U.S. rate of 8.6 percent (not adjusted for seasonal jobs).

Statewide Texas continues to fare better than the rest of the nation. Still unemployment claims remain higher than a year ago.

Non-agricultural employment fell by 39,500, giving the state a net job loss of 173,900 over the past 12 months. That compares with job losses of 5.2 million nationwide during the same period.

Manufacturing, mining and logging and construction led the job decline, while leisure and hospitality and education and health services were the top growth sectors.

Lowest metro rate in the state was Amarillo at 4.1 percent. Highest was McAllen-Edinburg at 8.9 percent.

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2009-05-28 digital edition

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