State/Local Unemployment Rates Improve

Houston and Texas show improvements in the rate of unemployment. Figures released today by the Texas Workforce Commission indicate the state unemployment rate dropped to the lowest it has been all year. Laurie Johnson reports.

The state unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent in September. That's down from 8.3 percent the month before.
Ann Hatchitt with the Texas Workforce Commission says Texas continues to trend significantly lower than
the national unemployment rate, which is 9.6 percent.

"Also we're back to 8.1 percent, which is where a year ago, so that's good. We're hoping that means things will start getting better. The other thing to note is that we've seen Texas employers add 152,000 jobs since last year, so that's great for Texas and very different from what we're seeing in other parts of the country."

Here in Houston, the unemployment rate dipped down significantly, to 8.2 percent in September, down from
8.6 percent in August.

"There was the addition of 4,800 jobs in the Houston area in September, 2010. Many of those jobs were local government education jobs. We're seeing those hourly workers such as custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers — those people are going back to work in September and that was a large amount of the job growth for the Houston area in the month of September."

Hatchitt says one key indicator of economic health in Texas is in the manufacturing sector. Texas has added 24,500 manufacturing jobs this year. That's 68 percent off all the manufacturing jobs added in the entire country.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...