Franklin and Hopkins Counties continue to lead the Northeast Texas Workforce Development Area in February 2022, marking least the ninth consecutive month both have had the lowest unemployment rates. Franklin, Hopkins and Delta were also once again the only counties in the NET WDA with unemployment rates below the overall 4.7% state average last month, according to the local area unemployment statistics (LAUS) released Friday morning March 25, 2022, by Texas Workforce Commission on the Texas Labor Market Information website.
Unemployment rates in most areas of NET, as well as across the state, appear to have all but stalled from January to February of 2022. In the NETWDA, the unemployment rates in Bowie, Franklin, Hopkins and Lamar counties were unchanged during the first two months of 2022. Cass, Morris, Red River and Titus counties all experienced minor decreases in unemployment rates from January to February. Delta County was the only count that posted a slight increase in unemployment rate in February 2022.
Franklin County’s unemployment rate of 3.7% in February 2022 was the same rate as the month before, making it the lowest unemployment rate in the workforce area for the month. That’s still 1.3% lower than the 5% unemployment rate recorded for February of 2021 in Franklin County.
Hopkins County’s 3.8% February 2022 unemployment rate was the second lowest in the workforce area, the same as in January 2022, but d0own from 5.0% in February 2021. That’s not as good as the 3.4% unemployment rate reported for December 2021, or 3.7% recorded in November 2021, nor the 3.1 percent of January and February 2020, just before the pandemic or the 22-year low of 2.7% reported for Hopkins County in April and May of 2019. Hopkins County’s January and February 2022 unemployment rate is still less than half the pandemic high of 7.8% recorded in April 2020, when many businesses were ordered by the government to close or remain only minimally open in response to COVID-19 which continued to spread across the county, state, country and world. The April 2020 unemployment rate, however was still less than in June 2011, when unemployment in Hopkins County peeked at 8.4%, setting a 22-year record high
While the unemployment rates were unchanged from January to February, that doesn’t mean, however, that the labor force hasn’t grown, nor that the number of unemployed hasn’t risen in the two counties.
Franklin County’s labor force has fluctuated from 5,289, with 267 unemployed in February 2021 to a civilian labor force of 5,161 with 193 unemployed in January 2022, then rose to 5,245 with 196 unemployed in February 2022.
Hopkins County’s labor force dipped from 1686 with 901 unemployed in February 2021 to 17,845 in January 2022 with 671 unemployed then rose to 18,091 with 685 unemployed in February 2022.
Delta County’s unemployment rate rose from 4.3% in January 2022 to 4.5% in February 2022, but down from a 5.5% unemployment rate in February 2021 and was still the third lowest in the area last month. The labor force in Delta County remained 2,482 over the past 2 months. The number of jobless in Delta County declined from 136 of the 2,458 labor force in February 2021 to 104 of 2,438 in January 2022, the rose slightly to 112 jobless out of 2,438 in February 2022.
Titus County’s unemployment rate for the past 2 months has been 0.1 percent above the state average of of 4.8% in January 2022 and 4.7% last month. The unemployment rate in Titus County in February 2021 was 6.2%, with 851 of the 13,668 labor force without jobs in February 2021. In January 2022, the labor force in Titus County had dipped to 13,591, with only 662 unemployed (4.9%). Last month, the labor force rose to 13,855, with three more unemployed than in January, raising the unemployment rate slightly to 4.8% for February 2022.
The unemployment rate of only one other county was below the average unemployment rate of 5.1% for the entire Northeast Texas Workforce Development Area in February 2022. Lamar County’s unemployment rate was 5% in both January and February 2022, down from 6.7% in February of 2021 when 1,652 of the 24,769 labor force did not have jobs. In January, the labor force in Lamar County had dipped to 24,304, with 1,226 unemployed to 1,222 of 24,612 unemployed in February 2022.
The labor force across the 9 counties in Northeast Texas dipped from 125,706 in February of 2021 to 124,793 in January 2022, then increased to 126,486 in February 2022. The number of jobless in NETWDA also dipped from 8,435 (6.7%) in February 2021 to 6,403 (5.1%) in January 2022 and 6,394 in February 2022, but the latter was not enough to change the unemployment rate from 5.1%.
Bowie County’s unemployment rate remained 5.3% in February, the same as in January 2022, but 1.5% less than in February 2021. Bowie’s work force has continued to grow over the past year, rising from 39,059 in February 2021 to 39,311 in January 2022 and 39,831 last month. The number of unemployed in Bowie County dipped from 2,670 in February 2021 to 2,094 in January 2022, and rose by another five last month, which wasn’t enough to change the county’s overall unemployment rate from January to February 2022.
Red River’s jobless rate has declined from 7.2 percent (382 jobless out of 5,341) in February of 2021 to 5.7% (304 of a 5,345 labor force) in January 2022 and 5.6% (300 of 5,396) in February 2022.
Cass County’s unemployment rate has continued to drop from 7.9% in February 2021 to 5.9% in January and 5.7% last month. The county’s workforce shrunk from 12,535 in February 2021 to 12,311 in January, then rebounded to 12,423 in February. Jobless rates have continue to decline from 991 in February 2021 to 732 in January and 713 in February 2022.
Rounding out the 9-county Northeast Texas Workforce Development Area with the highest February 2022 unemployment rate of 8.8% is Morris County. That’s down from 12.4% in February 2021 and 9.3% in January 2022. While Morris County’s workforce increased from 4,487 in January 2022 to 4,550 in February 2022, that’s still 172 fewer workers in Morris County last month than in February 2021. The number of jobless in Morris County has continued to decline over the last year from 585 in February of 2021 to 417 in January 2022 and 402 last month.