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Walmart layoffs not yet felt in unemployment rate

LIVINGSTON –The impact of the Walmart layoffs was not evident in the April unemployment report and the Polk County rate continued to decline.

The jobless figure is expected to climb when the workers who were laid off on April 13 begin to file unemployment claims with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The store employed 422 people but some were transferred to other Walmart stores. Those that were let go were given 60 days of pay as part of the termination package when the store temporarily closed to make major repairs.

In the latest TWC report available, the county's jobless rate fell from 5.7 percent in March to 5.3 percent in April.

The latest 5.3 percent rates is the lowest rate posted for the county since April 2008's 5.1 percent unemployment figure. It also is well down from the 6.1 percent figure recorded for April 2014.

The lowest April rate recorded by the county since 2000 was the 5.1 percent figure posted in 2008. The highest rate for the month occurred in both 2010 and 2011 when a 9.3 percent jobless figure was recorded.

The current 5.3 percent unemployment rate translates to mean that out of an estimated workforce of 17,035, there were 905 county residents looking for work during the month. One month earlier, TWC's revised estimates put the local labor force at 17,040 with 973 looking for jobs.

Statewide, April's actual unem­ployment rate of 4.0 percent was down from March's 4.2 percent and well below the 4.8 percent jobless figure recorded in April 2014.

When seasonal factors are added to the equation, the state's April adjusted unemployment rate was listed at 4.2 percent, which was unchanged from March but well below the 5.2 percent listed in April 2014.

The actual national unemploy­ment rate for April was listed at 5.1 percent, which was down from the 5.6 percent figure recorded in March. It also was down from the 5.9 percent number posted in April 2014.

The April sea­sonally adjusted U.S. rate of 5.4 percent was down slightly from the 5.5 percent rate listed for March and well below the 6.2 percent rate listed for April 2014.

According to TWC officials, Texas' total nonfarm seasonally adjusted employment increased by 1,200 jobs in April.

"Texas employers added jobs in seven of 11 major industries," said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. "TWC and our 28 local workforce boards across the state remain focused on connecting the Texas workforce with jobs being created by employers."

"We know that there are still folks who are looking for good-paying jobs in our state and we encourage them to take advantage of the many resources made available through Texas Workforce Solutions," said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. "Through our Workforce Solutions offices around the state, staff that can help steer job seekers to employment and training opportunities. With more than 260,000 available jobs currently posted on WorkInTexas.com, job seekers have good options here in Texas."

Job gains for April were led by the Leisure and Hospitality industry, which added 6,900 positions. The Information industry enjoyed its largest monthly gain for the industry since June 2000 with the addition of 3,400 jobs in April. Other Services gained 2,800 jobs during the month followed by Trade, Transportation and Utilities, which expanded by 2,100 positions.

"The employers in Texas are strong and resilient and have a talented pool of workers to choose from," said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Hope Andrade. "I encourage all of our employers to take advantage of the programs we offer through the Skills Development Fund to help them create jobs and train workers with the skills needed for today's job market. More information on these programs is available at texasworkforce.org/skills."

From among the 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) monitored by TWC, the Amarillo MSA had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 2.7 percent. The Midland MSA posted a 2.9 percent rate while the Lubbock and Austin-Round Rock MSAs were tied at 3.0 percent.

The MSAs with the highest jobless rate in March was the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission MSA at 7.3 percent. The Brownsville-Harlingen MSA was next at 6.7 percent and the Beaumont-Port Arthur MSA was third from the top after recording a rate of 6.0 percent.

Unemployment rates posted for other East Texas counties include:
APRIL %
COUNTY RATE CHANGE
Anderson 3.8 -0.2
Angelina 5.3 0.5
Cherokee 4.9 -0.1
Grimes 4.9 0.6
Hardin 4.9 -0.3
Harris 4.0 -0.2
Houston 4.4 -0.3
Jasper 6.6 -0.3
Jefferson 6.2 -0.3
Leon 4.9 0.1
Liberty 6.0 -0.4
Madison 3.8 -0.3
Montgomery 3.7 -0.2
Nacogdoches 4.2 -0.1
Polk 5.3 -0.4
Sabine 8.3 -0.4
San Augustine 9.0 0.2
San Jacinto 4.8 -0.2
Shelby 4.6 -0.1
Trinity 5.3 -0.1
Tyler 6.4 -0.1
Walker 4.3 -0.3