State Jobless Numbers Up but Still Below National Rate
by: Pat Hernandez, November 20, 2009 9:11:01 pm
The jobless rate in October rose to 8.3-percent, up from 8.2-percent in September. In the Houston area, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.5-percent. Veronica Downey is a labor market analyst for the Texas Workforce Commission. She says while the numbers remain well below the current U.S. rate of 10.2-percent.
"We do know that what is happening in the U.S. has filtered down to Texas. We do know that the economic downturn that the U.S. is experiencing is affecting almost all of the states now."
PH : "So, regardless with Texas' reputation as bucking the national trend — they're not immune?"
Downey : "No, no state is immune at this time. The national downturn has lasted for going on almost two years. So, no state is immune, it's just one of those things of supply and demand."
But there is a silver lining when it comes to Texas and the rest of the country.
"The thing that I think is most important, we've continue to kind of widen the spread back between the national unemployment rate and Texas'. The national rate is about 10.2-percent so, we're almost 200-bases points below the national rate."
Jim Kee is chief economist at South Texas Money Management. He thinks the latest numbers won't affect the state's reputation of having more to offer job seekers.
"No, and its for a couple of reasons. One of them is that Texas is just a more business friendly climate, but Texas is also the nation's largest energy producer, and what we've seen with the third quarter GDP numbers globally is that the global economy has returned a positive growth. We've seen that in the U.S., in Europe, in Japan and China. And that explained part of the increase in the price of oil over the last few months, which benefits Texas, and I think it should help Texas in the way of exports."
He agrees with other experts that, while the Texas job market regained some lost ground experienced over the past several months — it's too soon to indicate a trend.