Statewide jobless rate shows improvement

AUSTIN — Texas’ November unemployment rate was 8.0 percent, a decrease from 8.3 percent in October.

The rate, at t wo percentage points below the national average, validates “the approach we take here in Texas,” Gov. Rick Perry said on Dec. 18.

“Over the past two months, while the nation as a whole lost 122,000 jobs, Texas gained nearly 70,000 jobs, which is promising news for those Texans who are seeking employment,” Perry said.

Also, according to figures publicized by the Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas civilian labor force reached its highest level ever at 12.1 million workers in November.

In other news, the Texas Workforce Commission alerted unemployment claimants about fraudulent e-mail text messages scammers use to illegally obtain personal identification information. Messages asking for that kind of information appear to originate from the commission, but the commission said it does not ask for personal ID numbers via email.

Job turnover rate low

State Auditor John Keel on Dec. 14 released an annual report on state employee turnover for fiscal year 2009.

The report says the statewide turnover rate was 14.4 percent for full- and part-time employees, the lowest turnover rate recorded in the last five years. The rate was 17.3 percent for the year 2008.

Excluding involuntary separations and retirements, the fiscal year 2009 statewide turnover rate was 8.1 percent. This rate, which is often considered more of a true turnover rate because it reflects preventable turnover, also decreased since fiscal year 2008, Keel’s report explained.

Factors that may have had an influence:

• Texas unemployment rates increased from 4.6 percent in fiscal year 2008 to 6.5 percent in fiscal year 2009.

• The average regular, fulltime classified employee salary increased from $32,848 in fiscal year 2005 to $38,461 in fiscal year 2009.

• Agencies worked to improve retention efforts.

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