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Job Numbers Up Again In North Texas and Statewide

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Vonda Joseph at Workforce Solutions

By Bill Zeeble, KERA News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-849973.mp3

Dallas, TX –

For the 8th consecutive month, the Texas unemployment rate has risen, and the figure for north Texas is even higher than the statewide number. That jobless trend's expected to continue. KERA's Bill Zeeble has more.

The statewide unemployment rate rose from 7.1 percent in May to 7 and a half percent in June, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. That's the highest it's been in more than a decade. Even worse, the North Texas unemployment number has jumped more than 3 whole points in a year.

SMU's Economics Professor, doctor Mike Davis: The fact that local numbers went up isn't good, but put that in context that all numbers went up all over country and it's not a happy story.

Professor Michael Davis lectures on the economy at SMU's Cox Business School.

Davis: Wherever we are in the business cycle we're not anywhere close to the end of the bad times. The recession apparently is not over.

Davis acknowledges that however bad the state's unemployment figure is, it's still a couple points better than the national number, for a few reasons:

Davis: Dumb luck. But also a culture that's supportive of business. Our reputation of being a conservative pro-business environment is somewhat exaggerated but there's some truth to it.

Better numbers are of little help to those recently out of work. Vonda Joseph is looking for help in the Dallas Workforce Solutions Center.

Vonda joseph: There's no jobs, no contract jobs, no permanent jobs, period. I've been an administrative assistant almost 30 years. there's not even a temporary job paying decent wages

Joseph says she was making 45 thousand dollars a year. Now on unemployment and looking for work, she says there's not even a temp job paying half that.

The state's Workforce Commission reports the category of Professional and Business Services jobs was especially hard hit in Texas. Professor Davis says it's important to remember these harsh jobless numbers represent real people, in serious distress.

Davis: You've got to understand there are people who are having trouble making mortgage payments. There are kids who aren't going to be able to go school this fall because parents have become unemployed. There are people who have health problems who've lost insurance 25 We have to understand there's tremendous human cost associated with unemployment.

Some, like single mom Debra Wright who's also now unemployed, says she's doing all she can to get by.

Debra Wright: I would go on temp jobs they would say it'll last 4 months and lasts 4 days. It's been off and on, up and down process. Because you can't go out today for a job and apply fill out an application, because they're just going to tell you look on the website. So it is an 8 hour process. So you're stil working even though you're not getting paid.

The Texas Workforce Commission says the only job categories holding their own were Education and Health Services, where the state ADDED jobs last month. Davis remains optimistic.

Davis: We haven't cured business cycle. Economy is going to be prone to tsehe flucutations. It will recover, it has recovered from worse in the past. Also it's important to remember this is fundamentally a strong economy. The tech changes we've seen in past are real. They'll translate into future prosperity So don't lose hope.

To deal with growing number of unemployed, the Texas Workforce Commission has added workers. The state hopes the larger staff can help needy Texans more rapidly.

Email Bill Zeeble

Link To Workforce Solutions