PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

March 8, 2013

Unemployment up for area, state

Brooke Crum
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — The unemployment rate for Port Arthur inched upward in January, disrupting the steady downward fall it had been following since October.

Port Arthur’s jobless rate for the first month of the year was 17.8 percent, up from 16.3 percent in December, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Beaumont’s unemployment rate climbed to 9.4 percent in January from 8.4 percent in December. The rate had not increased since November when it fell to 8.5 percent, according to the commission.

But that was the trend for the rest of the county and state, as well. Jefferson County’s rate increased from 10.3 percent in December to 11.3 percent in January, according to a TWC press release. The statewide unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.3 percent in January from a seasonally adjusted 6.2 percent in December.

Orange County hit a jobless rate of 11 percent in January, up from 10.3 percent in December, according to the TWC. The county’s unemployment rate began its upward crawl in December.

The Texas unemployment rate declined for six consecutive months before rising in January, but it remained below the nationwide jobless rate of 7.9 percent, according to the press release. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent in February.

Texas added 310,900 nonfarm jobs throughout 2012, adding 10,400 of those jobs in January alone, according to the TWC press release.

Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar said in a press release that the Texas economy continued to add jobs while growing in all 11 major industries over the past year.

The leisure and hospitality sector saw the greatest growth, adding 8,900 jobs in January alone, according to the TWC. It added 62,500 jobs over the past year for a 5.9 percent annual growth rate.

“It’s good to see so many different opportunities continuing to arise here in Texas,” Commissioner Ronny Congleton said in the release. “For example, the trade, transportation and utilities industry alone has grown by nearly 64,000 jobs over the past year.”

The mining and logging industry, which includes oil- and gas-related jobs, added 19,700 jobs in the past year, according to the commission. Construction added 28,500 jobs in the same time frame.

Meanwhile, private businesses added 304,700 positions over the past year.

Midland had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.4 percent. Odessa came in second with a 4.1 percent jobless rate. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area had the highest jobless rate in the state at 11.6 percent.

email: bcrum@panews.com

twitter: @broocrum