Friday AM March 5th, 2010

The Texas Workforce Commission says the state's unemployment rate held steady at 8.2 percent in January. But Houston's rate jumped to 8.8 per cent. Ed Mayberry reports.

texas employeeThe Texas Workforce Commission says the state's unemployment rate of 8.2 percent is unchanged from the revised figures of December.  But Houston's rate jumped over the past month.  Tom Paulken is chairman of the TWC. 

"I saw the numbers as well, and in the Houston area, you went up from 8.2 percent unemployment in December of 2009 to 8.8 percent.  But it is a real concern that a lot of people who've lost their jobs are having a hard time getting re-employed.  I think you have to look at these monthly figures not as an exact science, but in terms of trend line.  And what we've seen statewide in the last four months is (in) three of those four months we gained jobs in Texas."  

The Texas labor force reached its highest total at 12.1 million workers.  Paulken says real job growth is still somewhat elusive. 
"What we are not seeing is any indication that companies which have laid off workers have the confidence to go back in in a significant way and rehire people, bring them back, or add to their payrolls.  I think there's a great amount of uncertainty at the national level, and this has an impact on Texas.  Until we see an indication that unemployment nationally is coming down, I'm afraid we're going to continue to be in a pretty high range of unemployment."

The jobless rate of 8.2 percent in Texas remains well below the national figure of 9.7 percent.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...