El Paso unemployment rate drops to 4.9 percentEl Paso unemployment rate drops to 4.9 percenthttps://www.recenter.tamu.edu/news/newstalk-texas/?Item=106342015-09-24T05:00:00Z2015-09-25T21:00:00Z

​​​​EL PASO – The local unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent in August, lower than July's 5 percent, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The city's unemployment rate has not been this low ​since the 5.5 percent rate in April 2008. 

Lower than the national unemployment rate of 5.1 percent, El Paso's rate is still above the Texas average of 4.1 percent.

Carlos Aguilar, an economics instructor at El Paso Community College, said the number is deceiving.

"What it (the data) means is our labor force has shrunk so dramatically that the unemployment rate looks so much better" than reality, said Aguilar.​​​

The city had an estimated 337,800 people in its civilian labor force in August, a reduction of about 8,800 workers compared with last year, according to Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) data. This decline indicated that people have either left this job market or dropped out of the job search completely. 

The TWC also reported that about 2,500 jobs were added since last year, an annualized job-growth rate of 0.9 percent. El Paso had an estimated 17,400 unemployed workers actively searching for jobs in August, compared with an estimated 23,700 job seekers at the same time last year.

However, the educational and health services sector, which includes private schools and health care facilities, added an estimated 1,200 jobs since August 2014, for an annualized gain of 2.9 percent. The sector grew 0.5 percent last month.

Statewide, job growth is likely to be weak in the final months of the year, said Dallas Fed economist Keith Phillips.

El Paso Times
El Paso
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