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Texas Unemployment Rate Skyrockets in April

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Area County Rates Also Show Steep Increase

By Will Johnson              

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – According to a May 22 press release from the Texas Workforce Commission, “Texas saw an increase in the state unemployment rate in April 2020, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”  

The TWC Statement further indicated over the past month, the Texas economy lost 1,298,900 nonfarm positions. Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 5.1 to 12.8 percent, below the national average of 14.7 percent.

Statewide, the highest unemployment level recorded was 18.2 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 8.8 percent, was in the Amarillo MSA. The nearest regional MSA is in the Tyler area which came in at 12.2 percent for the month of January.  

Just like the state numbers, the unemployment rates for the contiguous counties of Houston County all showed a drastic increase over the month-to-month timeframe. 

In Houston County, the unemployment rate for April showed an increase as it went from five percent in March to 6.7 percent last month.  The April 2020 unemployment rate was also significantly higher than the April 2019 rate of 2.5 percent.

The unemployment rate in Anderson County also climbed as it went from 4.2 percent in March to 7.8 percent in April. The April 2020 unemployment rate was also significantly higher than the 2.5 percent rate posted in April 2019.

To the south – in Trinity County – the month-to-month rate went up as it went from seven percent in March to 10.9 percent in April. The April 2020 unemployment rate was also significantly higher than the 3.9 percent rate posted in April 2019.

The January unemployment rate in Cherokee County also went up as it went from 5.7 percent in March to 12.8 percent in April. The April 2020 unemployment rate was also significantly higher than the 3.2 percent rate posted in April 2019.

The largest population center in the immediate area, Angelina County, saw the unemployment rate double as it went from 5.9 percent in March to 11.8 percent in April. The April 2020 unemployment rate was also significantly higher than the 3.4 percent rate posted in April 2019.

On a month-to-month basis, in Leon County, the statistical data indicated an increase from 6.6 percent in March to 10.4 percent in April. The April 2020 unemployment rate was also significantly higher than the 3.4 percent rate posted in April 2019.

Madison County also saw an increase in the unemployment rate as it went from 5.8 percent in March to 9.1 percent in April. The April 2020 unemployment rate was also significantly higher than the 3.4 percent rate posted in April 2019.

Rounding out the area counties, Walker County also saw an increase in the unemployment rate as it went from 5.6 percent in March to 11.1 percent in April. The April 2020 unemployment rate was also significantly higher than the 3.1 percent rate posted in April 2019.

In the aforementioned press release from the Texas Workforce Commission, TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel stated, “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a measurable effect on the Texas economy. While we will continue to provide assistance to those seeking unemployment benefits, many employers are hiring and TWC is working to provide resources to job seekers as well as employers as the state opens up.”

During the month of April, all major industries in Texas experienced job loss.  

TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez stated, “As Texas continues to open, TWC is committed to providing job seekers the resources and opportunities needed to adapt to our changing economy. To help connect workers with available jobs, staff at workforce centers across the state are available to provide virtual job-search assistance.”

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

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