Unemployment rate jumps back over 10%

Milam spent 10 months of 2009 over 10-percent jobless benchmark
By KEN ESTEN COOKE Reporter Publisher

The year 2009 is one for the record books, and where the county jobless rate is concerned, it was the worst showing since the Workforce Commission began keeping records.

Milam’s December unemployment rate was 10.3 percent, giving the county its tenth month of double-digit joblessness in 2009.

Milam’s rate was based on a labor force of 12,542 with 11,244 working and 1,298 without jobs. Milam’s workforce number in December 2008 was 12,520, and its jobless rate at 9.4 percent.

Last week, a U.S. Department of Labor grant worth $2.2 million was presented for training and job search for many of the 1,100 who lost jobs during the Oct. 2008 Alcoa shutdown. Workforce funds have also helped further educate or retrain workers for jobs in other fields.

State, nation

Rates (not adjusted for seasonal jobs) show that the U.S. has hit 9.7 percent for joblessness, while Texas continues to fare better at 8.0 percent.

Non agricultural employment fell by 23,900 jobs in December, though the state has gained 50,000 in the past three months.

“Texas continues to feel the effects of this serious national recession with unemployment in our state now at 8.3 percent,” said Tom Pauken, TWC chair.

Education and health services showed job gains, while Trade, Transportation and Utilities represented the bulk of job losses.

Amarillo continued to have the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 5.3 percent, while McAllen-Edinburg-Mission was highest at 11.7 percent.

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2010-01-28 digital edition

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