Area County Rates Show Increase  

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – The June unemployment rate in Texas fell slightly with the addition of 40,200 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs. The state has also added jobs in 26 of the last 27 months, according to data released by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

The TWC released its monthly unemployment statistics for June 2017 on Friday, June 21 and the data showed the state’s unemployment dropped from 4.8 percent in May to 4.6 percent in June. The June 2017 mark was also slightly lower than the June 2016 unemployment rate which came in at 4.7 percent.

“Texas’ annual employment growth outperformed the previous two years with 319,300 jobs added over the year, bringing the state’s annual growth rate up by 0.4 percentage points to 2.7 percent,”  the July 21 TWC press release stated.

Statewide, the highest unemployment level recorded was 8.3 percent, in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) area.

An MSA is defined as a “… free-standing metropolitan area composed of one or more counties.”

The lowest rate, at 3.4 percent, was in the Amarillo MSA. The nearest regional MSA is located in Tyler and came in at 4.3 percent for the month of May.

While the state numbers showed a decrease, the unemployment rates for the majority of area counties increased over the month-to-month timeframe.

In Houston County, the unemployment rate for May came in at 4.1 percent, while the June rate increased and came in at 4.3 percent for the month. The June 2017 rate, however, was lower than the 4.8 percent unemployment rate posted in June 2016.

The unemployment rate in Anderson County also rose as it went from 3.6 percent in May to four percent in June. On a positive note, the June 2017 rate was lower than the 4.7 percent rate posted in June 2016.

To the south, in Trinity County, the month-to-month rate held steady at 5.7 percent from May to June. The 5.7 percent rate for June 2017 was lower than the 6.7 percent rate from a year ago.

The unemployment rate in Cherokee County came in at 4.6 percent for May, while the June rate increased and came in at 4.9 percent for the month. The June 2017 rate, however, was lower than the June 2016 rate of 5.4 percent.

The largest population center in the immediate area, Angelina County, showed an incline in the rate on a month-to-month basis as the figures revealed the unemployment rate increasing from 5.4 percent in May to 5.6 percent in June. The Angelina County unemployment rate for June 2017, however, was lower than in June of 2016, when the rate stood at 6.2 percent.

On a month-to-month basis, Leon County posted the highest rate in the region. The statistical data indicated an increase from 6.5 percent in May 2017 to 6.8 percent in June 2017. The recent figures, however, pointed to a decrease from the June 2016 unemployment rate of seven percent.

Rounding out the area counties, Madison County continued the trend and showed an increase in the unemployment rate. The rate was 4.7 in May 2017 but increased to 5.3 percent in June 2017. The June rate, however, was lower than the 5.9 percent rate posted in June 2016.

In the aforementioned press release from the Texas Workforce Commission, TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar stated, “Texas employers added 319,300 jobs over the past year, with ten out of eleven industries adding jobs in the dynamic Texas economy. TWC will continue to support strategies that boost the job creation efforts of Texas employers and equip Texas students and workers with in-demand skills.”

The media statement further indicated, “Education and Health Services recorded the largest private-industry gain over the month with 13,100 jobs added. Manufacturing experienced its largest over-the-year employment gain since July 2012 with 4,600 jobs added in June and Mining and Logging employment expanded by 4,400 jobs.”

TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs added, “Private-sector employment remained strong with Texas employers adding 283,800 jobs over the year and 34,100 jobs added in June. TWC is committed to developing innovative workforce programs that keep our businesses competitive and our growing talent pipeline a priority.”

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.