Unemployment rates continued to decline in Hopkins County, Northeast Texas and across the state from February to March 2022. The Northeast Texas Workforce Development Area’s March 2022 unemployment rate of 4.1 is still a little bit higher than the overall Texas unemployment rate of 3.9, which was slightly higher than the national unemployment rate of 3.8, according to the March 2022 statistics released by Texas Labor Market Information for Texas Workforce Commission.
The overall civilian labor force in the US rose from 163,725,000 in February 2022 to 164,274,000 in March 2022, both up from 160,397,000 in March of 2021. The number employed in the US rose also from 163,725,000 in February 2022 and 160,397,000 in March 2021 to 158,106,00 in March 2022. Overall, the unemployment rate dropped 2.4% over the last year and 0.3% from February to March of 2022.
Texas’ overall labor force was slightly smaller, dropping from 14,539,800 people either working or searching for a job in February 2022 to 14,536,900 in March 2022. The number of Texans working also rose from 14,143,900 in March of 2021 to 13,854,600 in February 2022 and13,974,000 in March 2022, dropping the unemployment rate from 6.5% in March 2021 to 4.7% in February 2022 and 3.9% in March 2022.
The civilian labor force in the nine-county Northeast Texas Workforce Development Area has continued to grow over the past year, as has the number employed. In March 2021, the NET WDA’s labor force included 125,959 people. The CFL had risen to 126,509 by February 2022 and 126,781 by March 2022 in the Northeast Texas WDA. Last month, 121,602 of people in NETWDA were employed, up from 120,121 in February 2022 and 117,984 working in March 2021. Overall, that lowered the unemployment rate across the NETWDA from 6.3 in March 2021, to 5.0 in February 2022 and 4.1 last month.
Four of the nine counties in the NETWDA were doing better than the US, state and WDA, each posting March 2022 unemployment rates below the WDA, state and national averages.
In fact, the unemployment rate in all nine counties in Northeast Texas Workforce Development Area improved from February to March of 2022.
Leading the NETWDA with the lowest reported unemployment rate of 3.0 in March 2022 was Franklin County (Mount Vernon), with Hopkins County a close second with an unemployment rate of 3.1%, followed by Delta County’s 3.5% March 2022 unemployment rate and Titus County’s 3.7% unemployment rate.
Franklin County’s CLF of 5,283 people in March 2022 was larger than the 5,244 reported in February 2022, but both fell short of the 5,396 CLF reported for Franklin County in March 2021. Franklin County did, however report one more person employed in March 2022 than the 5,125 of March 2021, and 77 more than in February 2022. Those shifts have dropped the unemployment rate in Franklin County from 5.0 in March 2021 to 3.7 in February 2022 and 3.0 in March 2022.
Hopkins County also continues to do well compared to the rest of the WDA, growing both the labor force and the number employed. Hopkins County’s CLF rose from 17,929 in March 2021 to 18,097 in February 2022 and 18,266 in March 2022. With the number of employed rising over from 17,065 in March 2021 to 17,708 in March 2022. This has decreased the number of unemployed from 4.8% (864 individuals) in March 2021 to 3.8% (684 individuals) in February 2022 and 3.1% (558) in March 2022.
That places Hopkins County back at the pre-pandemic unemployment rate of 3.1 posted in January and February of 2020. In fact, the unemployment rate was at the lowest in the past 22 years in 2019, with 2.7% reported in April and May 2021, 2.8% reported in October and December 2019 and 2.9% reported in September and November 2019. The highest Hopkins County unemployment rate in 2019 was 3.6% in January, followed by 3.3 percent in February and July 2019; and 3.2% in March, June and August of 2019. That put the annual 2019 average unemployment rate at 3.1%. While unemployment soared to 7.8% in April 2020 due to government mandated shutdowns, the highest unemployment rates in Hopkins County in the past 23 years were recorded in 2010 when the annual unemployment average was 7.5 and 2011 when the average was 7.6%. The highest Hopkins County’s unemployment rate has climbed since 2000 was 8.4% in June 2011, followed by 8.2 in July 2011, 8.1 in January of 2010 and 2011, and 8 in February 2011. The lowest unemployment rate in 2011 was 6.6 in December, and the lowest unemployment rate for 2010 was 7.1 in April, May and October.
Delta County (Cooper) has also seen an increase in the CLF and number unemployed, decreasing the overall unemployment rate over the past year. Delta County’s CLF was 2,470 in March 2021, had grown to 2,486 in February 2022 and reached 2,500 last month. The number of employed rose from 2,339 in March 2021 to 2,373 in February 2022 and 2,412 in March 2022. That dropped the unemployment rate from 5.3% (131 unemployed) in March 2021 to 4.5% (113 unemployed) in February 2022, and 3.5% (88 unemployed) last month in Delta County.
Titus County (Mount Pleasant)’s unemployment rate has declined 2.1% in the past year, going from 5.8% in March 2021 when 798 of the 13,669 CLF were unemployed to 3.7% with 515 of the 13,887 CLF unemployed in March 2022, which was a 1.1% dip from February 2022 when 661 of the 13,851 CLF were unemployed.
The remaining counties in the NETWDA have all reported a dip of at lest 1% in unemployment rates over the past month, and at least 2% over the past year.
The largest drop of 4% in unemployment rates over the past year in NETWDA was in Morris County (Daingerfield), which continues to have the highest unemployment rate of 7.4% in the 9-counties. Morris County’s CLF shows continued decline, dropping from 4,700 in March 2021 to 4,551 in February 2022 and 4,547 in March 2022. The number of employed in Morris County dipped from 4,166 in March 2021 to 4,148 in February 2022, only to rise one month later to 4,210 employed. Despite the fluctuation, the unemployment rate has dropped from 11.4% with 534 unemployed in March 2021 to 8.9% with 403 unemployed in February 2022 and 7.4% with 337 unemployed in March 2022.
The northeastern most county in the NETWDA, Bowie County (Texarkana), had a March 2022 unemployment rate of 4.3% (1,715 without jobs) in March 2022, down from the 5.3% (2,100 unemployed) recorded in February 2022 and 6.5% (2,532 unemployed) in March 2021. While Bowie County’s CLF has fluctuated from 39,020 in March 2021 to 39,851 in February 2022, then down to 39,619 one month later. The number working has continued to grow, however, rising from 36,488 employed in Bowie County in March 2021 to 37,751 in February 2022 and 37,904 in March 2022.
Cass County’s (Linden and Atlanta) unemployment rate fell from 7.5%, with 946 of the 12,564 CLF unemployed in March 2021, to 5.7%, with 711 of the 12,422 CLF unemployed in February 2022, and 4.6% with 576 of 12,495 unemployed in March 2022.
Lamar County’s labor pool rose from 24,612 in February 2022 to 24,734 in March 2022, which was still less than the 24,846 CLF recorded in March 2021. The number of people working in Lamar County (Paris) has continued to grow over the last year from 23,295 in March 2021 to 23,390 in February 2022 and 23,743 in March 2022. That dropped the unemployment rate from 6.2% (1,551 unemployed) in March 2021 to 5% (1,222 unemployed) in February 2022 and 4% (only 911 unemployed) in March 2022 in Lamar County.
Finally, rounding out the nine-county WDA, Red River County (Clarksville) has not only grown the CLF but the number of people employed as well over the past year. Red River County’s unemployment rate has improved from 6.5%, with 348 of the 5,365 CLF unemployed in March 2021, to 5.5% with 299 of 5,395 unemployed in February 2022, and 4.4% with 242 of 5,450 unemployed last month.