Texas unemployment near 8 percent, but jobs grow

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ The unemployment rate in Texas is on the brink of 8 percent, though the state added jobs in July for the first time since late last year. The Texas Workforce Commission reported today that the jobless rate jumped to 7.9 percent from 7.5 percent in June while the number of jobs rose by 37,000 compared to last month. The job increase was the first since November when Texas was bouncing back from Hurricane Ike last September. Austin economic consultant Jon Hockenyos says ``it's pretty clear that the recession is bottoming out.'' Texas hasn't seen 8 percent unemployment since November 1987, the dying days of an oil bust that ravaged the state's economy. Even if the state hits 8 percent, Hockenyos said that won't be an ominous sign. Texas continues to creep closer to the national unemployment rate, which is at 9.4 percent. The state was a full 2 percentage points behind the national figure a month ago.