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Unemployment dropped in Walker County and across Texas in October — but the numbers remain bleaker than they were last year, according to numbers released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission. 

Walker County’s unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in October, down from 8 percent in September. Statewide, 6.9 percent of workers were collecting unemployment benefits, compared to 8.3 percent of workers in September. The Texas unemployment rate is in line with the National unemployment rate of 6.9 percent.

“Folks are maintaining, but the next quarter may be rough,” said Ray Hernandez, the president of the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce. “I see it out there when I go visit, our businesses are doing OK, but they aren’t in any position to start hiring folks.”

In October, the professional and business services sector added 45,200 jobs statewide—the largest monthly increase recorded for this industry since the series began in 1990. Leisure and hospitality added 27,700 jobs, while trade, transportation and utilities added 19,300 jobs.

“While the economy may look a bit different, one thing holds true: skilled workers are in-demand,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “TWC is proud to promote on-the-job training through Registered Apprenticeship Programs which help Texans build skills and create careers while earning an income.”

For the third consecutive month the Walker County labor force decreased, with the amount of civilians able and willing to work at 23,866. Approximately 1,625 Walker County residents are collecting unemployment.

Employment estimates released by TWC are produced in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

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