Jobless rate stays at 10.2%

But state adds 41,700 jobs in October, regaining some lost ground
By KEN ESTEN COOKE Reporter Publisher

For the third month in a row, Milam County's unemployment rate measured 10.2 percent, according to October figures released by the Texas Workforce Commission. The figure is just above two percentage points over the statewide rate of 10.2 percent, and seven tenths of a percentage point of the 9.5-percent national jobless rate.

The double digits, of course, are due to the closing of Alcoa's Rockdale Operations, in which over 1,000 jobs were lost, including contractors for the aluminum smelter. Milam County's rate in October of last year 5.9 percent.

Milam County's numbers were based on a labor force of 12,465, with 11,190 working and 1,275 jobless. The labor force in October 2007 was 12,490.

Milam's labor force last October was 13,286.

Statewide numbers

Milam's was the highest of the neighboring seven-county area. Falls was next highest at 9.2 percent, followed by Robertson at 8.3 and Williamson at 7.7.

Statewide, the Workforce Commission reported that Texas employers added 41,700 jobs in October, bucking the national trend that has seen jobs shed across the country, though the rate still rose a tenth of a percentage point from a month ago.

"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," said Workforce Chair Tom Pauken. "The Texas unemployment rate continued to edge upward as our state continues to feel the effects of the national ecnomic downturn."

Job gains were seen in education and health services (14,900), professional and business services (10,800) and financial activities industry (4,500).

"Reports of job gains in October are good news, and certainly better than the alternative, but we remain concerned about the many Texans who still cannot find work," said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. "We want to encourage those seeking work to take advantage of the job-search and training services at workforce centers across the state."

Highest rate in the state was the border region of McAllen- Edinburg-Mission at 11.2 percent. Lowest rate was Lubbock at 5.4 percent.

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