Area County Rates Increase
By Will Johnson
EAST TEXAS – According to a March 11 press release from the Texas Workforce Commission, “In January, Texas added 29,000 total nonagricultural jobs, making gains in 20 of the last 21 months. For the month, the state exceeded the previous record employment level set in December 2021 by reaching 13,084,400 jobs in January 2022.”
The media release went on to state that Texas has added a total of 687,500 positions since January 2021. The seasonally adjusted Texas unemployment rate for January 2022 was 4.8 percent, unchanged from a revised rate of 4.8 percent from December 2021.
While the 4.8 percent mark remained steady in the Lone Star State, the unemployment rate still remains above than the national mark of four percent.
Statewide, the highest unemployment level recorded was nine 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 3.3 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 4.3 percent for the month of December.
While the state numbers held steady, the unemployment rates for Houston County and the counties contiguous to Houston County all showed an increase over the month-to-month timeframe.
In Houston County, the unemployment rate showed an incline as it went from 3.8 percent in December to 4.3 percent in January. The January 2022 unemployment rate, however, was lower than the January 2021 rate of 6.1 percent.
The unemployment rate in Anderson County also increased as it went from 3.4 percent in December to 3.9 percent in January. The January 2022 unemployment rate, however, was lower than the six percent rate posted in January 2021.
To the south – in Trinity County – the month-to-month rate increased as it went from 6.1 percent in December to 6.8 percent in January. The January 2022 unemployment rate was lower than the 8.5 percent rate posted in January 2021.
The January unemployment rate in Cherokee County showed an increase as it went from five percent in December to 5.8 percent in January. The January 2022 unemployment rate, however, was significantly lower than the 7.9 percent rate posted in January 2021.
The largest population center in the immediate area – Angelina County – also saw the unemployment rate rise as it went from 5.1 percent in December to 5.8 percent in January. The January 2022 unemployment rate was lower than the 7.8 percent rate posted in January 2021.
On a month-to-month basis, in Leon County, the statistical data pointed to an increase from 5.6 percent in December to 6.5 percent in January. The January 2022 unemployment rate was lower than the 8.5 percent rate posted in January 2021.
Madison County also saw an increase in the unemployment rate as it went from 4.8 percent in December to 5.4 percent in January. The January 2022 unemployment rate, however, was lower than the 7.9 percent rate posted in January 2021.
Rounding out the area counties, Walker County continued the trend as it saw the December 2021 unemployment rate increase from 4.9 percent to 5.5 percent in January. The January 2022 unemployment rate was lower than the 7.3 percent rate posted in January 2021.
In the aforementioned press release from the TWC, Chairman Bryan Daniel stated, “The Lone Star State continues to set new records for Texans in employment, with January’s total surpassing the record set in December. Texas has added nearly 700,000 jobs since January 2021 and, while we can’t predict the future, job activity and hiring efforts by Texas employers continues to grow.”
During the month of January, according to the TWC media briefing, “Trade, Transportation, and Utilities gained 12,000 jobs over the month. Leisure and Hospitality added 5,700 positions. Also of note, Information employment grew by 3,300 jobs.”
TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez added, “Texas’ labor market continues to grow and change with the times, and TWC is here to provide our workforce with the resources needed to succeed. Whether you’re a parent looking for childcare, a veteran seeking new skills training, or are an adult looking for literacy services, TWC is here to help all Texans.”
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].