PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

August 19, 2013

Area jobs added

Jobless rate holds steady

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Job growth in the area is slowly picking up while unemployment figures stay relatively the same.

About 104 people were added to the employment rolls from June to July in Port Arthur while Jefferson County saw an addition of about 561 in Jefferson County. The Beaumont-Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area saw an addition of more than 800, according to figures released by the Texas Workforce Commission on Friday.

Port Arthur’s unemployment rate went from 16.7 percent for the month of June to 16.2 percent for the month of July. In July 2012, the unemployment rate was 18.3.

Jefferson County’s unemployment rate moved from 11.0 in June to 10.6 in July, while the July 2012 figure was 11.9. Beaumont saw a 9.4 percent rate for June with a slight drop to 8.9 for July. Last July the rate was 9.8. Orange County had similar figures as well, with a 10.4 percent rate for June, down to a 10.0 percent rate for July. July 2012 had a 10.8 percent rate.

Pam Wise, liaison with Texas Workforce Solutions, said that the small amount of job growth in the area mirrored what was happening in Texas.

The statewide rate for July shows it’s remained unchanged for the third consecutive month at 6.5 percent. Over the previous three months, the rate stood at 6.4 percent and in January was 6.3 percent, according to an Associated Press story. State officials say the Texas economy added 19,900 nonfarming jobs in July, for a total of 293,000 positions added since July 2012.

Wise expects job growth to increase.

“We think job growth will increase because of the economic development activities going on in Southeast Texas,” Wise said referring to Golden Pass LNG’s expansion in Sabine Pass that’s expected to create thousands of jobs and generate billions of dollars in investments.

Other projects include work at south Jefferson County refineries such as Huntsman and Jefferson refinery, construction and opening of Saltgrass Steak House and a new hotel, Townplace Suites by Marriott.

“There are a lot of positive things going on that we think will be good for Southeast Texas in the future and we do see jobs coming back,” she said. “We look forward to unemployment numbers dropping to the single digits in Southeast Texas.”

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