Monday AM September 8th, 2008

image of The August unemployment rate has soared to a five-year high of 6.1 per cent, according to the most recent labor department figures. Ed Mayberry reports.

Nationwide, employers cut some 84,000 jobs, marking the eighth straight month of contraction in payrolls. Also, with revisions, job losses in June and July were worse than previously thought. But Eric Nielsen with Korn/Ferry International’s Houston office says Houston’s energy economy is faring better.

“Houston has been insulated from all this, and even though we’ve seen a significant slide in terms of commodity prices, by historical standards they’re still at very high levels and really hasn’t impacted overall activity level yet, when you look at, you know, the upstream sector: services, EPC: engineering, procurement, construction, et cetera.”

The Federal Reserve this week noted that service exports are running at about 17 per cent ahead of last year.

“And I think the thing that a lot of people forget about the oilfield service companies is that a significant component of their business is basic manufacturing. And so you combine the activity in the sector and in a relatively inexpensive dollar, you know, their business is booming. I would say that’s true of most export-oriented businesses, is that they’re doing quite well.”

But Korn/Ferry says it’s seeing a 16 per cent growth globally in placement of senior-level positions.

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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