Area County Rates Increase
By Will Johnson
EAST TEXAS – According to a March 25 press release from the Texas Workforce Commission, “In February, Texas added 77,800 total nonagricultural jobs, making gains in 21 of the last 22 months. For the month, the state exceeded the previous record employment level set in January 2022 by reaching 13,184,100 jobs in February 2022.”
The media release went on to state that Texas added a total of 832,200 positions since February 2021. The seasonally adjusted Texas unemployment rate for February 2022 was 4.7 percent, a decrease of 0.1 percentage points from January 2022.
While the 4.7 percent mark indicated a decline in the Lone Star State, the unemployment rate still remains above the national mark of 3.8 percent.
Statewide, the highest unemployment level recorded was 8.4 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 Austin-Round Rock MSA. The nearest regional MSA is in the Tyler area, which came in at 4.3 percent for the month of February.
While the state numbers dropped, the unemployment rates for Houston County and the counties contiguous to Houston County were a mixed bag over the month-to-month timeframe.
In Houston County, the unemployment rate showed a decline as it went from 4.3 percent in January to 4.2 percent in February. The February 2022 unemployment rate was also lower than the February 2021 rate of six percent.
The unemployment rate in Anderson County held steady over the month-to-month timeframe as it remained at 3.9 percent in February. The February 2022 unemployment rate, however, was lower than the 5.9 percent rate posted in February 2021.
To the south – in Trinity County – the month-to-month rate increased as it went from 6.8 percent in January to 6.9 percent in February. The February 2022 unemployment rate was lower than the 8.4 percent rate posted in February 2021.
The February unemployment rate in Cherokee County showed a decrease as it went from 5.8 percent in January to 5.6 percent in February. The February 2022 unemployment rate was also significantly lower than the 7.9 percent rate posted in February 2021.
The largest population center in the immediate area – Angelina County – also saw the unemployment rate drop as it went from 5.8 percent in January to 5.7 percent in February. The February 2022 unemployment rate was also lower than the 7.5 percent rate posted in February 2021.
On a month-to-month basis, in Leon County, the statistical data pointed to a decrease from 6.6 percent in January to 6.3 percent in February. The February 2022 unemployment rate was lower than the 8.2 percent rate posted in February 2021.
Madison County also saw an increase in the unemployment rate as it went from 5.4 percent in January to 5.1 percent in February. The February 2022 unemployment rate was also lower than the 7.4 percent rate posted in February 2021.
Rounding out the area counties, the Walker County unemployment rate remained at 5.5 in February. The February 2022 unemployment rate was lower than the 7.1 percent rate posted in February 2021.
In the aforementioned press release from the TWC, Chairman Bryan Daniel stated, “February marks the fourth consecutive month of record-setting employment levels in Texas. This continued growth highlights the strength of our Texas economy and signals significant opportunities for Texans in the Lone Star State.”
During the month of February, according to the TWC media briefing, “Trade, Transportation, and Utilities gained 18,200 jobs over the month. Leisure and Hospitality added 17,400 positions. Also of note, Professional and Business Services employment grew by 16,800 jobs.”
TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez added, “Opportunities for Texas’ workforce to find meaningful employment continue to grow each month. While we continue to add positions each month in our labor market, TWC is here to support job seekers with the training and career development tools they need to succeed.”
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.