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Texas Unemployment Rate Drops in January

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Area County Rates Increase 

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – According to a March 12 press release from the Texas Workforce Commission, “Texas added 30,800 total nonagricultural jobs over the month, marking the ninth consecutive month of job growth. Private sector employment moved in the same direction with an increase of 32,600 positions for the month. The Texas unemployment rate for January 2021 was 6.8 percent, down from 6.9 percent in December 2020.”

While the Texas Unemployment rate went down in January, it is still higher than the national unemployment rate of 6.3 percent.

Statewide, the highest unemployment level recorded was 11.9 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 4.9 percent, was in the Amarillo MSA. The nearest regional MSA is in the Tyler area which came in at 6.4 percent for the month of January.  

Unlike the state numbers, the unemployment rates for the counties contiguous to Houston County all showed an increase over the month-to-month timeframe. 

In Houston County, the unemployment rate for January showed an increase as it went from six percent in December to 6.7 percent in January. The January 2021 unemployment rate was also significantly higher than the January 2020 rate of 3.5 percent.

The unemployment rate in Anderson County also increased as it went from 5.7 percent in December to 6.3 percent in January. The January 2021 unemployment rate was significantly higher than the 3.1 percent rate posted in January 2020.

To the south – in Trinity County – the month-to-month rate increased as it went from 8.3 percent in December to 8.7 percent in January. The January 2021 unemployment rate was also significantly higher than the 5.6 percent rate posted in January 2020.

The January unemployment rate in Cherokee County also increased as it went from 7.3 percent in December to eight percent. The January 2021 unemployment rate was also significantly higher than the 4.2 percent rate posted in January 2020.

The largest population center in the immediate area, Angelina County, also saw the unemployment rate go up as it went from 7.2 percent in December to 8.2 percent in January. The January 2021 unemployment rate was also significantly higher than the 4.4 percent rate posted in January 2020.

On a month-to-month basis, in Leon County, the statistical data pointed to an increase from 8.5 percent in December to 9.3 percent in January. The January 2021 unemployment rate was also significantly higher than the 4.9 percent rate posted in January 2020.

Madison County also saw an increase in the unemployment rate as it went from 7.6 percent in December to 8.5 percent in January. The January 2021 unemployment rate was also higher than the 4.2 percent rate posted in January 2020.

Rounding out the area counties, Walker County continued the trend as it saw the unemployment rate go from 7.1 percent in December to 7.7 percent in January. The January 2021 unemployment rate was also  higher than the four percent rate posted in January 2020.

In the aforementioned press release from the Texas Workforce Commission, TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel stated, “The continued job growth in January is a promising sign for our economic recovery. TWC continues to provide opportunities for Texans to enhance job skills or to find a new job at www.MyTxCareer.com.”

In January, according to the TWC media briefing, the Professional and Business Services industry added 12,800 jobs. Financial Activities added 8,400 jobs, Construction added 3,000 jobs and Leisure and Hospitality added 2,900 jobs.

TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez stated, “This month continues to show increased job growth and emphasizes the need for skilled workers in Texas. TWC is proud to help all workers sharpen their skills through programs like Metrix online learning, which is available free to all Texans.”

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

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