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Area adds jobs; more people seeking work

Golden Triangle workers added more than 200 jobs from February to March but with even more people seeking work, the region’s unemployment rate increased from 10.6 to 10.8 percent.

Total nonagricultural employment in Texas increased by 8,500 positions in March. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March remained unchanged at 8.2 percent for the fifth consecutive month, and continues to trend well below the March U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 9.7 percent.

Southeast Texas cities and counties followed the regional trend of adding jobs but adding even more people to the work force, resulting in small increases in the unemployment rates.

In Jefferson County, 137 jobs were added in March, but the work fore grew by 350, resulting in a one-tenth a percent increase in the unemployment rate to 11 percent.

In Port Arthur, 27 new jobs were added while 89 more people were looking for work, pushing the city’s unemployment rate to 15,1 percent in March from 14.9 percent in February.

“Texas has started to experience job growth over the past several months despite the challenges of the national recession,” said Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chairman Tom Pauken. “Growth in industries such as Manufacturing and Mining and Logging are positive signs.”

Leisure and Hospitality added 10,300 jobs in March for the largest job gain statewide among all the major industries. Education and Health Services employment grew by 6,000 jobs in March for a total of 56,300 jobs added over the year.

“Many Texans continue to face the challenges of unemployment despite reports of job growth,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “TWC has job-search assistance and other services at workforce centers across Texas.”

In the Goods Producing sector, employment in Mining and Logging increased by 6,100 jobs in March, and the Manufacturing industry added 2,100 jobs.

“Employment in Education and Health Services continued its strong pattern of growth during March, and there were noteworthy gains in the Leisure and Hospitality industry,” said TWC Commissioner Representing the Public Andres Alcantar. “For those who remain out of work, TWC and the 28 local workforce boards offer innovative programs to assist in job-search efforts.”

The Amarillo Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) experienced the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 5.6 percent (not seasonally adjusted), followed by the Midland MSA with 5.7 percent, and third lowest was the Lubbock MSA and College Station-Bryan MSA, each at 5.9 percent.