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Texas Unemployment Rate Drops in December

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Area County Rates Also Decrease 

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – According to a Jan. 21 press release from the Texas Workforce Commission, “In December, the seasonally adjusted Texas unemployment rate was five percent, a decrease of 0.2 percentage points from November 2021.”

The media release went on to state Texas added 50,000 total nonagricultural jobs over the month, making gains in 19 of the last 20 months. For the month, the state reached another record employment level with 13,059,600 jobs. Texas has added a total of 694,400 positions since December 2020.

Despite the drop from November to December, the unemployment rate still remains higher than the national mark of 3.9 percent.

Statewide, the highest unemployment level recorded was 7.8 percent, in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA).

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

The lowest rate, at 2.9 percent, was found in the Amarillo MSA, as well as the Austin-Round Rock MSA. The nearest regional MSA is in the Tyler area, which came in at 3.6 percent for the month of December.  

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

In Houston County, the unemployment rate showed a decline as it went from 4.3 percent in November to four percent in December. The December 2021 unemployment rate was also lower than the December 2020 rate of six percent.

The unemployment rate in Anderson County also decreased as it went from 4.1 percent in November to 3.7 percent in December. The December 2021 unemployment rate was also lower than the 5.7 percent rate posted in December 2020.

To the south – in Trinity County – the month-to-month rate decreased as it went from 6.6 percent in November to 6.2 percent in December. The December 2021 unemployment rate was also lower than the 8.3 percent rate posted in December 2020.

The December unemployment rate in Cherokee County showed a decrease as it went from 5.5 percent in November to 5.2 percent in December. The December 2021 unemployment rate was also significantly lower than the 7.3 percent rate posted in December 2020.

The largest population center in the immediate area – Angelina County – also saw the unemployment rate drop as it went from 5.7 percent in November to 5.4 percent in December. The December 2021 unemployment rate was also lower than the 7.2 percent rate posted in December 2020.

On a month-to-month basis, in Leon County, the statistical data pointed to a decrease from six percent in November to 5.7 percent in December. The December 2021 unemployment rate was also lower than the 8.5 percent rate posted in December 2020.

Madison County also saw a decrease in the unemployment rate as it went from 5.3 percent in November to 5.1 percent in December. The December 2021 unemployment rate was also lower than the 7.6 percent rate posted in December 2020.

Rounding out the area counties, Walker County continued the trend as it saw the November 2021 unemployment rate drop from 5.4 percent to five percent in December.  The December 2021 unemployment rate was also lower than the 7.1 percent rate posted in December 2020.

In the aforementioned press release from the TWC, Chairman Bryan Daniel stated, “Seeing a second consecutive month of record-setting employment, with more than 13 million jobs, highlights the underlying strength of the Texas economy. This economic strength creates an environment for Texas employers to continue to create jobs and provide opportunities for the workforce in the Lone Star State.”

During the month of December – according to the TWC media briefing – “The Construction industry gained 10,400 jobs over the month. Trade, Transportation, and Utilities added 7,300 positions. Also of note, Financial Activities added 7,200 jobs.”

TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez added, “After surpassing our pre-pandemic record employment high in November, career opportunities in Texas continued to grow in December. Whether you’re looking to upskill in your current field or find training for a new career, TWC is here to support all Texans in their search for meaningful employment.”

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