Texas unemployment rates climb higher, still below national rate

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - As Sandra Hopson scans last month's unemployment rates for Angelina County, she is not too surprised. "We have definitely have seen these too and the increased traffic coming into the work force center," said Sandra Hopson, Business Specialist for Work Force Solutions in Lufkin.

According to March statistics, 7.5 percent of Angelina County's work force is jobless. That means right now 3,000 people are unemployed. This time last year, 4.6 percent of the county's work force was without jobs. "Now when we're looking for applicants we have a lot more people to choose from," said Hopson.

Hopson said there is about 135 job postings in the Work Force Solutions job bank in Lufkin. "I won't say that there's a whole lot, but people are getting hired, people are getting jobs so there's things out there for them," said Hopson.

Despite the dragging recession, there are a few bright spots in some sectors of the economy. "Anything in the health careers is a good, strong area," said Hopson.

President and CEO of Memorial Health System of East Texas, Byrant Krenek said there is a tremendous demand for jobs in the healthcare industry, especially clinical jobs, nurses, technicians, laboratory, respiratory and of course physicians.

As local residents ride out the recession, some are making adjustments to help make ends meet. "It seems like money just doesn't go as far as it used to. I think everyone's had to try to find ways to you know cut their costs so they can manage each month," said Hopson.

Trade, transportation and utilities added almost 6,000 jobs in March. Another bright spot are jobs in the education sector. However, construction and manufactring jobs have been hit the hardest.

Hopson said the internet can be instrumental in tracking down a job. Work Force Solutions offers free classes to help East Texans update their resumes, cover letters and of course to search for jobs.