Area County Rates Drop
By Will Johnson
EAST TEXAS – According to a Sept. 20 press release from the Texas Workforce Commission, “In August, the Texas economy added 18,200 seasonally adjusted total nonfarm positions. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.4 percent matching the all-time record low set in June. This record is currently the lowest the unemployment rate has been since series tracking began in 1976.”
The TWC statement also reported Texas employers added 303,500 jobs over the year. Total nonfarm annual employment growth was at 2.4 percent in August and has held at or above two percent since February 2018.
Statewide, the highest unemployment level recorded was 6.4 percent, in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) areas.
An MSA is defined as a “… free-standing metropolitan area composed of one or more counties.”
The lowest rate, at 2.2 percent, was in the Midland MSA. The nearest regional MSA is in the Tyler area which came in at 3.4 percent for the month of August.
While the state numbers held steady, the unemployment rates for the contiguous counties of Houston County were a mixed bag over the month-to-month timeframe.
In Houston County, the unemployment rate for August decreased as it went from 3.5 percent in July 2019 to 3.4 percent in August 2019. The August 2019 rate was also lower than the 3.7 percent unemployment rate posted in August 2018.
The unemployment rate in Anderson County also decreased as it went from 3.1 percent in July 2019 to three percent in August 2019. Also on a positive note, the August 2019 rate was lower than the 3.1 percent rate posted in August 2018.
To the south – in Trinity County – the month-to-month rate held steady as it stayed at 4.7 percent in August, the same as it was in July 2019. However, the 4.7 percent rate for August 2019 was lower than the 5.3 percent rate from August 2018.
The unemployment rate in Cherokee County also held steady at 3.9 percent from July to August 2019. The August 2019 rate, however, was lower than the August 2018 rate of 4.2 percent.
The largest population center in the immediate area, Angelina County, saw the unemployment rate dip as it went from 4.3 percent in July to 4.1 percent in August. Also on a positive note, the August 2019 rate was lower than the 4.5 percent rate posted in August 2018.
On a month-to-month basis, in Leon County, the statistical data indicated a decrease from 4.8 percent in July to 4.7 percent in August. The recent figures also pointed to a decrease from the August 2018 unemployment rate of 4.8 percent.
Rounding out the area counties, Madison County saw a decrease in the unemployment rate as it went from 5.2 percent in July to five percent in August 2019. The August 2019 rate, however, was higher than the 4.5 percent rate posted in August 2018.
In the aforementioned press release from the Texas Workforce Commission, TWC Chairman and Commissioner Representing the Public Bryan Daniel stated, “Our businesses in Texas continue to thrive every day in a strong economy, and this three-month historic low unemployment rate is encouraging for all Texans. Texas has created an environment for success, thanks to Governor Abbott’s leadership, and it should continue to support additional business expansion for our broad range of industry employers.”
The media statement further indicated, “Leading job growth in August was the Education and Health Services industry adding 8,800 jobs, followed by the Government sector adding 3,400 jobs and then Financial Activities which added 3,200 jobs.”
TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez stated, “Our economy is robust, and our workforce is thriving. At TWC, we’re working hard to provide each member of our 14 million strong workforce with opportunities to sharpen their skills, build their careers and keep Texas one of the best places in the country to live and work.”
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.