Texas jobless rate jumps to 8.4 percent in July

August 19, 2011 2:40:12 PM PDT
The unemployment rate in Texas jumped to 8.4 percent in July, the highest level since the state was reeling from an energy, real estate and banking crisis 24 years ago, the state's employment agency reported Friday.

The jobless rate increased from 8.2 percent in June, jumping 0.2 in consecutive months for the first time since the state was in a recession in the spring of 2009. The unemployment rate matches the figure from July 1987, but is still below the national unemployment rate of 9.1 percent.

Commission Chairman Tom Pauken said the state "continues to feel the effects of a stagnant national economy."

The increase in the jobless rate came despite a 10th consecutive month of job growth. Texas added 29,300 nonfarm jobs in July, according to commission figures.

The trade, transportation and utility sector added 15,300 jobs last month, but that was offset by a combined loss of 15,400 jobs in the government and construction sectors.

All sectors besides government and construction added jobs in July. Leisure and hospitality increased by 7,500 jobs, and education and health services added 5,900.

Unemployment rates are adjusted for seasonal trends in hiring and firing, which most economists believe give a more accurate picture of the job market. Without the seasonal adjustment, the jobless rate in Texas fell to 8.7 percent in July from 8.8 percent in June.

Midland maintained the state's lowest local jobless rate at 5.1 percent for July. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area in South Texas had the highest rate at 13.2 percent. The local rates are not seasonally adjusted.

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