Weatherford Democrat

December 29, 2013

Parker Co. unemployment rates below state, national averages

Extended jobless benefits ended Saturday for an estimated 1.3 million people

Taylor Armerding
CNHI News Service

— From staff and wire reports

Unemployment rates for December show 5.2 percent of Parker County’s workforce of nearly 60,000 people were employed in November.

That is below the Texas non-seasonal adjusted unemployment average of 5.8 percent and the national jobless rate of 6.6 percent, non-seasonally adjusted.

November marked lowest unemployment rate since December 2008.

In Weatherford, the Texas Workforce Commission’s most recent jobless data showed the city with non-seasonal adjusted unemployment rate of 5.1 percent among the city’s 12,522 workers – those people employed or actively seeking employment.

Total non-farm employment in Texas rose by an estimated 28,700 positions in November. Texas now has an estimated total non-farm employment of 11,267,800 jobs, an increase of 274,200 jobs over the year.

“The private sector continued to expand, adding 20,500 jobs in November and posting an annual growth rate of 2.8 percent,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “The Texas Workforce Commission encourages job seekers to use the employment resources available to them through Texas Workforce Solutions.”

Industries adding jobs in November included trade, transportation and utilities, which expanded by 22,000 positions; professional and business services, which grew by 9,400 positions; and manufacturing, which saw an increase of 3,500 jobs.

“The fourth consecutive decrease in the unemployment rate is a welcome sign for Texans in search of work,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Workers Ronny Congleton. “I encourage all job seekers, and especially those who are facing exhaustion of their unemployment benefits, to take advantage of the career tools available at their local Workforce Solutions office.”

Every major industry in Texas added jobs over the year. Six out of 11 recorded annual growth rates at or above 2.0 percent.

“The Texas economy continues its strong momentum thanks to continued growth spurred by the success of our state’s employers,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Hope Andrade. “It is encouraging to see expansions across a wide range of industries throughout the state.”

The Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area had the lowest November unemployment rate in the state at 2.9 percent, with Odessa coming in second and Amarillo coming in third at 3.5 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively (not seasonally adjusted).

More than 1 million Americans face a post-Christmas jolt as extended federal unemployment benefits came to a sudden halt this weekend, entailing potentially significant implications for the recovering U.S. economy and setting up a tense battle when Congress reconvenes in the new year.

Jobless rates could drop, but analysts say the economy may suffer with less money for consumers to spend on everything from clothes to cars. Having let the “emergency” program expire as part of a budget deal, it’s unclear if Congress has the appetite to start it anew.

An estimated 1.3 million people were cut off when the federally funded unemployment payments ended Saturday.