The Texas Workforce Commission says Houston’s job losses in the past year amount to a year-over-year decline of 0.2 per cent. That means Houston is now losing more jobs than it’s creating for the first time in five years. Skip Kasdorf is manager of economic research at the Greater Houston Partnership.
“This recession, Ed, is like none that we’ve seen in more than seven decades, and that we have a credit crunch that affects virtually all industries in all regions of the country. And in such an environment, you’re going to see job losses. And it’s entirely possible that Houston could wind up the year with a job loss and still be the best-performing regional economy in the country.”
But Kasdorf says oil and gas posted a net gain of 6,000 jobs, or 6.9 per cent, in the past year.
“That has been what has buffered Houston against the deteriorating national economy over the past two years or so. And to the surprise of many of us, it still seems to be holding up very well. It’s adding jobs. That’s going to dilute the effects of the recession on Houston, at least over probably the next couple of months.”
In February, 43,422 Houston residents were receiving weekly unemployment benefits–a 130 per cent increase from February 2008. The Texas unemployment rate is up by a tenth of a per cent to 6.5 per cent. The national rate last month was 8.1 per cent.
Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.