El Paso's unemployment rate increased slightly in January to 9.2 percent because stores laid off Christmas help -- a rate lower than at the same time last year but above the national and Texas unemployment rates, show data released today.
El Paso's unemployment rate was 9 percent in December, reported the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, which revised that number up slightly from the 8.9 percent rate it previously reported. El Paso's unemployment rate was 9.6 percent in January 2012.
Only January unemployment numbers were released for metro areas. The U.S. Department of Labor reported today that the national unemployment rate decreased to 7.7 percent in February compared with 7.9 percent in January.
The Texas unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in January. No February rate has yet been reported.
El Paso lost an estimated 4,100 jobs in January -- half of those in the retail sector as stores laid off workers hired for the Christmas shopping season, show data from the Texas Workforce Commission.
The good news is even with the big January losses, El Paso had a net gain of 5,000 jobs since January 2012, or an annual gain of 1.8 percent. The biggest job gains were in the leisure and hospitality sector (hotels and restaurants), and in the health-care sector, state data show.
An estimated 30,800 El Pasoans were unemployed and actively seeking a job in January, the Workforce Commission reported.
Those job seekers kept El Paso with the fourth-highest unemployment rate
among Texas metro areas. The highest rate was 11 percent in the McAllen area, the Dallas Fed Bank reported.
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