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Northeast Texas WDA Unemployment Rates Rose In June 2022, But Remain Lower Than June 2021 Rates

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Unemployment in Northeast Texas Workforce Development area rose for the second consecutive month, but the June 2022 unemployment rates were still below June 2021 unemployment rates for all nine counties in the WDA. Franklin and Hopkins continued in June 2022 to have the lowest unemployment rates in NETWDA and both county’s 3.5% unemployment rates are still below the overall state unemployment rate of 4.4% for June 2022, according to the Texas Workforce Commission’s Texas Labor Market and Career Information site (https://texaslmi.com/)

“Texas set a new all-time employment record in June by adding 82,500 jobs, the highest monthly jobs increase this year,” TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel was quoted in a Texas Workforce Commission about the June 2022 unemployment statistics released July 22, 2022.

For the eighth consecutive month, the state set new employment highs as total nonfarm employment reached 13,431,100. Texas added a total of 778,700 positions since June 2021. The seasonally adjusted Texas unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, a decrease of 0.1 percentage points from May 2022. In terms of COVID recovery, employment has expanded by 464,900 jobs above the February 2020 level, according to TWC.

Education and health services gained 27,900 jobs over the month. Leisure and hospitality added 12,700 positions, followed by trade, transportation, and utilities, which grew by 11,400 jobs. The information industry saw the highest percentage job growth of 3.6 percent, notching an additional of 8,100 jobs from May to June 2022. Of the 11 major industries, nine saw growth in June 2022.

“The Texas civilian labor force is more than 14.5 million people – that’s a lot of Texans willing to work in the many career options available in our state,” TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez was quoted in the news release.

Overall, the labor force in Texas grew from by 639,455 to 14,585,252 from May to June of 2022, which is 369,117 more people across the state either employed or actively seeking employment over the last year, according to the TLMI data.

“There are more than 630,000 Texas employers and more than three million small businesses that call the Lone Star state home, and TWC offers them a number of tools and resources that assist them in retaining and increasing the skill set of their current workforce,” TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Aaron Demerson was quoted in the TWC release. “In addition, we always encourage our Texas employers to look at other innovative talent pipelines, that can include hiring veterans, people with disabilities, transitioning foster youth, internships, apprenticeships and second chance individuals.”

Across the Northeast Texas WDA, the workforce consisted of 124,804 people either working or looking for jobs in June 2022, up from 124,601 in May 2021, but still slightly less than the 124,869 reported in June 2021, according to the TLMI data.

WDA Lowest Unemployment Rates

Franklin and Hopkins counties were the only counties in the Northeast Texas WDA with a June 2022 unemployment rate below 4%.

Only four more people had joined the Franklin County workforce, increasing the total labor force in Franklin County during June 2022 to 5,174, with 4,991 employed and 183 seeking employment. That’s still 14 fewer in the labor force last month than in June of 2021. Unfortunately, the number of people employed shrunk from 5,170 in May 2022 to 4,991 in June 2022. That left 183 unemployed in June 2022, up from 149 in May 2022, but still only far below 2021, when 250 members of the 5,188 member workforce were unemployed giving Franklin County a June 2021 unemployment rate of 4.8%.

Unemployment in Hopkins County (as well as many other places) typically increases at least slightly during the month of June, as school lets out and more people of working age are available and seeking jobs, and 2022 was no exception.

In fact, since 2000, unemployment in Hopkins County has only declined once during the month of June, dipping from 6.9% in 2020 to 6.5% in June2020, then continuing to decline monthly in July and August of 2020.This largely reflects the impact COVID-19 and mandated shutdowns and restricted occupancy levels at businesses and venues from the latter half of March 2020 through July 2020. In 2020, unemployment rose from 3.1% in January and February, to 4.3% in March, then 7.8% in April, when everything except the most “essential” workers were allowed to be out and about. However, the unemployment rate for April 2020 was still not as high as in Hopkins County as the in 2010 and 2011 — the last time the tanked nation-wide. (Unemployment rose to 8.1% in January 2010 2011, 8% in February 2011 and 7.9% in February 2010, and 8.4% in June and 8.2% in July of 2011.)

As building capacities began to rise in 2020 along with the definition of “essential worker” and discontent of some in wearing face coverings, more and more people each month went back to work, causing the unemployment rate to decline. Unemployment in Hopkins County remain below 5% starting in October, giving 2020 an overall average of 5.1%. 2021 ended with an annual unemployment average of 4.6%.

Unemployment in Hopkins County this year has remained below 4%, peaking at 3.8% in January and February, 31% in March and May, 2.8% in April, and back up to 3.5% in June 2022. That’s an overall 3.35% unemployment rate for the first 6 months of 2022.

The 0.4% rise in unemployment from May to June 2022 in Hopkins County reflects a decrease in the overall labor force, from 18,103 to 17,993. The number of employed declined from 17,545 in May to 17,362 in June 2022, which were both better than in June 2020 when only 16,836 out of a labor force of 16,836 were employed. That left 631 people unemployed in June 20202, compared to 558 unemployed in June 2021 and 884 unemployed in Hopkins County in 2020.

Unemployment Below State and Regional Rates

Delta is the only other county in the Northeast Texas Workforce Development Area to post an unemployment rate below the 4.4% state unemployment average. Delta County’s 4.3% unemployment rate increased by 0.8% from May to June 2022, but was still a full percent less than in June of 2021.

The labor force in Delta County reached 2,461 in May 2022, dipped to 2,455 in June 2022 and was only reported at 2,432 in June 2021. A total of 2,302 in Delta County were reported to be employed in June 2021, leaving 130 jobless. In May 2022, a total of 2,374 were employed leaving only 87 members of the labor force without jobs. Last month, 2,349 Delta County residents were employed, leaving 106 unemployed.

Lamar County’s June 2022 unemployment rate of 4.5% was just below the overall 4.7% unemployment rate for the entire 9 county NETWDA.

In June of 2021, a total of 7,854 Northeast Texans out of the 124,869 labor pool were unemployed. The NETWDA labor pool had declined to 124,601 in May 2022, leaving 5,114 unemployed. The labor pool had risen to 124,804 in June 2022, leaving 5,894 unemployed last month in the Northeast Texas Workforce Development Area.

Lamar County’s labor force has continued to decline over the last year, from 24,474 in June 2021, to 24,114 in May 2022 and 24,110 in June 2022. In June 2021, 1,420 in Lamar County were unemployed, giving the county a 5.8% unemployment rate. In May 2022, only 959 in Lamar County were jobless, dropping the unemployment rate to 4%. Last month, however, 1,083 were seeking employment in Lamar County increasing the unemployment rate to 4.5% for June 2022.

Unemployment Below 5%

Bowie and Titus Counties each had a June 2022 unemployment rate of 4.9% for June 2022.

The labor force in Titus County has continued to rise over the past year, from 13,532 in June 2021 to 13,570 in May 2022 and 13,542 in June 2022. The number of employed in Titus County has fluctuated, from 12,696 in June 2021 to 13,049 in May 2022, then dipped again last month to 12,976. That left 836 unemployed (6.2%) in June 2021, 521 unemployed (3.8%) in May 2022 and 666 unemployed (4.9%) in Titus County in June 2022.

Bowie County’s unemployment rate rose 0.5% from May 2022, when 1,718 were without jobs (4.4%), to 1,955 of the 39,441 labor force unemployed in June 2022. That’s still 1.6% fewer unemployed in June 2022 than the 2,540 who were unemployed in June of 2021.

Northeast Texas Workforce Development Area unemployment statistics for June 2022, May 2022 and June 2021 (Texas Workforce Commission’s Texas Labor Market Information Chart)

Unemployment Above 5%

Both Red River and Cass Counties’ unemployment rates came in at 5.3% for June 2022, a 0.7% increase from May 2022 and a 2.3% decrease from June 2021 for Cass County, and a 0.7% increase from May 2021 and a 0.8% increase from June 2021 for Red River County.

In June 2021, a total of 945 of the 12,428 labor force in Cass County were without jobs. By May 2022, only 564 of the 12,217 labor force were without jobs. That number rose a bit in June 20222 with 652 of the 12,244 member labor force without jobs.

Red River County’s labor force has continued to grow over the past year, with 5,295 working or seeking work in June 2021, 5,343 seeking work in May 2022 and 5,375 seeking work in June 2022. The number of unemployed dwindled from 325 in June 2021 to 245 in May 2022 and had only risen to 285 in June 2022.

Morris County’s unemployment rate continued to be the worst reported in June 2022 in the 9-county WDA. While not nearly as bad as the 11.4% unemployment rate posted in June 2021, when 524 of the 4,062 workforce were unemployed, the 7.9% unemployment rate of June 2022 reflected 344 out of 4,370 in Morris County who were unemployed in June 2022. That’s not as good as in May 2022, when Morris County’s unemployment rate dipped to 7.1%, with 313 out of 4,388 jobless.

Author: Faith Huffman

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