Area County Rates Show Increase 

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – The Texas economy broke a four decades old record in October and followed up by breaking the month old record low in November.

According to a Nov. 17 press release from the Texas Workforce Commission, “Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent, setting a new record for the lowest unemployment rate recorded in four decades. The Texas economy added 54,500 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in November. Annual employment growth for Texas increased to 2.7 percent in November, marking 91 consecutive months of annual growth.”

The TWC press release indicated the state’s unemployment dropped from 3.9 percent in October to 3.8 percent in November. The November 2017 mark was lower than the November 2016 unemployment rate which came in at 4.8 percent.

Statewide, the highest unemployment level recorded was 5.7 percent, in the Beaumont-Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) area.

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

The lowest rates, at 2.6 percent, were in the Amarillo and Midland MSAs. The nearest regional MSA is in the Tyler area which came in at 3.5 percent for the month of November.

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

In Houston County, the unemployment rate for October came in at 3.7 percent, while the November rate increased and came in at 3.9 percent for the month. The November 2017 rate, however, was lower than the 4.4 percent unemployment rate posted in November 2016.

The unemployment rate in Anderson County increased as it went from 2.8 percent in October to three percent in November.  On a positive note, the November 2017 rate was lower than the four percent rate posted in November 2016.

To the south – in Trinity County – the month-to-month rate also increased from 4.7 percent in October to 5.1 percent in November. The 5.1 percent rate for November 2017 was lower than the six percent rate from a year ago.

The unemployment rate in Cherokee County came in at 3.7 percent for October, while the November rate increased and came in at four percent for the month. The November 2017 rate, however, was lower than the November 2016 rate of five 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 four percent in October to 4.3 percent in November. The Angelina County unemployment rate for November 2017 was lower than in November of 2016, when the rate stood at six percent.

On a month-to-month basis, Leon County posted the highest rate in the region. The statistical data indicated an increase from 5.2 percent in October 2017 to 5.5 percent in November 2017. The recent figures, however, pointed to a decrease from the November 2016 unemployment rate of 6.4 percent.

Rounding out the area counties, Madison County continued the trend and showed an increase in its unemployment rate. The rate was 3.6 in October 2017 but increased to 3.9 percent in November 2017. The November 2017 rate, however, was lower than the 5.1 percent rate posted in November 2016.

In the aforementioned press release from the Texas Workforce Commission, TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar stated, “The addition of 330,600 jobs over the year demonstrates the consistency with which employers in our state create job opportunities for the highly skilled Texas workforce. The Texas economy offers employers access to a competitive workforce and provides job seekers with career options in a variety of growing Texas industries.”

The media statement further indicated, “Nine of eleven major industries showed increased growth in November, including Professional and Business Services with 14,700 jobs added and Construction which added 8,200 positions. Leisure and Hospitality employment continued to grow by adding 8,000 jobs in November. Employment in Education and Health Services increased by 8,200 positions. Over the year, this industry has gained 40,400 jobs. Trade, Transportation, and Utilities employment grew by 8,200 jobs, and Manufacturing industry jobs increased by 2,700 positions.”

TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs added, “Private-sector employers added 52,000 jobs in November and have accounted for the addition of 294,600 positions in Texas over the past year. I am encouraged by the growth across a variety of industries and commend our employers for their investment in our Texas workforce.”

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