Tyler Employment Rate Holds Steady Above 93 Percent
By CASEY MURPHY
The employment rate for the Tyler area slumped to 93.2 percent in May, down slightly from the 93.6 percent seen here the month before.
Last month's rate was a jump from the 92.7 percent employment rate for the area in May 2011, according to the latest figures released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission.
"The Texas economy expanded in May, as the private sector gained 15,300 positions," Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar said in a prepared statement.
"Over the past year, private sector employment in Texas has shown an encouraging 3.3 percent annual growth rate. It is a positive sign that a number of Texas industries added jobs in May, led by professional and business services with an increase of 8,500 jobs."
The employment rate for Texas in May was 93.1 percent, a decrease from the 93.5 percent in the state in April and a jump from last year's 92.2 percent.
The Texas economy added jobs for the 22nd consecutive month as employers added 12,500 nonfarm jobs in May. Since last year, Texas employers have added 237,100 seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs.
The annual growth rate for Texas was 2.3 percent in May and has been at or above 2 percent since December, the commission reported.
The private sector in Texas added 287,000 jobs during the year while the leisure and hospitality industry gained 6,900 positions in May, adding 52,000 jobs over the last year -- more than any other industry in Texas, according to the report.
"It is good to see Texas' private employers continuing to add to their payrolls," Commissioner Representing Employers Tom Pauken said. "Texas' economy continues to stand out, as our unemployment rate remains below the national unemployment rate for the 65th consecutive month."
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Texas remained at 6.9 percent in May, down from 8.1 percent a year ago, remaining well below the national unemployment rate of 8.2 percent.
"A variety of industries are growing in Texas, including construction, which added 2,400 jobs in May," Texas Workforce Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton said. "TWC is committed to connecting job seekers to the opportunities available in Texas' labor market."
Jobs in trade, transportation and utilities also posted positive gains. The industry grew by 3,500 positions in May and has added jobs in nine of the past 12 months. It has seen an increase of 50,000 jobs during the past year for an annual growth rate of 2.4 percent.
At 96.2 percent, the Midland area had the highest employment rate in the state, while McAllen-Edinburg-Mission had the lowest, at 89.2 percent.
The country saw an employment rate of 92.1 percent in May, down from 92.3 percent the month before and up from 91.3 percent in May 2011.
Applications for unemployment benefits in the nation rose last week, pointing to a fourth straight month of sluggish hiring in June. And consumer prices were pulled down in May by a plunge in gas prices, the Associated Press reported. Weekly unemployment benefit applications increased to a seasonally adjusted 386,000, the Labor Department said. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose for the third straight week to 382,000.
Applications are a measure of layoffs. When they drop below 375,000, it typically suggests hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate. But applications have settled near or above that level since April.
Many economists on Thursday said they don't expect job growth in June to be much better than April or May, according to the Associated Press. Employers added an average of only 96,000 jobs per month in the past three months.