Texas Unemployment Stuck at 8.5% | KERA News

Texas Unemployment Stuck at 8.5%

Dallas, TX – Texas added more than 15,000 jobs in September but unemployment is still higher than a year ago. KERA's Shelley Kofler has more on why.

In the past year more than 188,000 additional workers have joined the Texas labor force. So while there's been a gain in new jobs, there's also been an increase in the number looking but unable to land a position. That's resulted in the unemployment rate rising from 8 percent to 8.5 percent.

Add the deep busts in government jobs and Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken says private job growth hasn't kept pace.

Pauken: You have to have a vibrant private sector in order to pay for your government benefits and services and if the private sector isn't growing then you are going to feel the kind of crunch we've felt in Texas and across the country.

The Texas Workforce commission cites solid annual job growth in professional and business services and in mining and logging which includes oil and gas production.

Pauken, however, is worried about a near-stagnant manufacturing sector. Texas manufacturers have added jobs since last year, but cut back last month. Pauken says national trends are troubling for our state.

Pauken: We're doing better here than the national figures but over the last decade we've lost one third of our U.S. manufacturing base in the country. That's 5.5 million good American jobs that have been outsourced, shipped overseas or simply gone away. In my way of thinking you can't have a strong economy without a strong manufacturing base.

Pauken thinks U.S. and Texas employment is stuck in neutral and many change little in the coming year.

Email Shelley Kofler