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Unemployment Rate Holds Steady for Fourth Consecutive Month

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Area County Rates Drop

By Will Johnson              

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – According to an Oct. 18 press release from the Texas Workforce Commission, “In September, the Texas economy added 7,600 seasonally adjusted Total Nonfarm positions. The unemployment rate held steady for the fourth month in a row at 3.4 percent matching the all-time record low first 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 have added 300,000 jobs over the year. Total nonfarm annual employment growth was at 2.4 percent in September and has held at or above 2.0 percent since February 2018.

Statewide, the highest unemployment level recorded was 5.9 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 two percent, was in the Midland MSA. The nearest regional MSA is in the Tyler area which came in at 3.2 percent for the month of September.  

While the state numbers held steady, the unemployment rates for the contiguous counties of Houston County all showed a decline over the month-to-month timeframe. 

In Houston County, the unemployment rate for August decreased as it went from 3.4 percent in August 2019 to three percent in September 2019. The September 2019 rate was also lower than the 3.3 percent unemployment rate posted in September 2018.

The unemployment rate in Anderson County also decreased as it went from three percent in August 2019 to 2.7 percent in September 2019.  Also on a positive note, the September 2019 rate was lower than the 2.9 percent rate posted in September 2018.

To the south – in Trinity County – the month-to-month rate dropped as it went from 4.7 percent in August to 4.5 percent in September. The 4.5 percent rate for September 2019 was also lower than the 4.8 percent rate from September 2018.   

The unemployment rate in Cherokee County also dropped as it went from 3.9 percent in August 2019 to 3.6 percent in September 2019. The September 2019 rate was also lower than the September 2018 rate of 3.9 percent.

The largest population center in the immediate area, Angelina County, saw the unemployment rate dip as it went from 4.1 percent in August to 3.9 percent in September. Also on a positive note, the September 2019 rate was lower than the 4.3 percent rate posted in September 2018.

On a month-to-month basis, in Leon County, the statistical data indicated a decrease from 4.7 percent in August to 4.6 percent in September. The recent figures, however, pointed to an increase from the September 2018 unemployment rate of 4.4 percent.

Rounding out the area counties, Madison County saw a decrease in the unemployment rate as it went from 4.9 percent in August to 4.3 percent in September 2019. The September 2019 rate, however, was higher than the 4.1 percent rate posted in September 2018.

In the aforementioned press release from the Texas Workforce Commission, TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel stated, “Texas’ fourth straight month of record-setting low unemployment rates highlights the competitive strength of Texas businesses, whose broad-based growth across industries provides exceptional opportunities for our highly skilled workforce. Texas continues to be a national leader in job creation and the premier place to do business.

The media statement further indicated, “Leading job growth in September was the Professional and Business Services adding 9,600 jobs, followed by Construction adding 7,200 jobs and Education and Health Services which added 1,800 jobs.”

TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez stated, “Texas’ labor force is made up of hard-working individuals who are eager to obtain the skills that our employers need. Positive economic growth means continued opportunities for the expanding labor force in Texas.”

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