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Home News-Telegram News Hopkins County’s jobless rate again lowest in eight-county area

Hopkins County’s jobless rate again lowest in eight-county area

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Unemployment turned upward in July as job seekers flooded the local labor market at a more rapid pace than positions were being created, but the jobless rate for Hopkins County remained the lowest in the area.

July’s civilian labor force — the number of people working or actively seeking employment in the county— rose by almost 600 from one year ago. The number of jobs, however, climbed by less than 200, resulting in a 6.5 percent unemployment rate for July.

The rate is the highest for the month of July in any year of the current decade. It’s also the highest figure for any month since the 6.8 percent reported in June of 2003.

There is a bright spot, however. The silver lining in this dark cloud is that the jobless rate is still the lowest of the eight counties in the region. In fact, Hopkins County is the only one of the eight to have a rate below 7.5 percent, and four are above 8 percent.

Rains had the highest rate of the eight counties — which also include Delta, Franklin, Hunt, Lamar, Titus and Wood — at 8.6 percent, up from 5.5 percent in July of 2008.

Delta and Wood counties had the next two highest unemployment rates in July at 8.3 percent, according to Texas Workforce Commission estimates. Wood County’s total reflected a 3.1 percentage point increase from 5.2 percent in July 2008, but Delta’s is only up 2.5 percentage points from 5.8 percent last year.

Hunt County also recorded a jobless rate increase with an 8.2 percent figure that was 2.7 percent above one year ago.

Titus County’s July unemployment rate of 7.9 percent represented an increase of 3.4 percentage points from 4.5 percent in July of 2008, while Lamar County recorded a 7.7 percent rate, up just 2.0 percentage points.

Franklin County was closest to the Sulphur Springs area at 7.5 percent, up from 4.5 percent in July of 2008.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission’s latest report, the number of employed Texans remained relatively steady in July, although the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent due to the number of people entering the workforce. The Texas unemployment rate is also well below the national average — U.S. non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July stood at 9.7 percent.

The state’s labor force also totaled more than 12 million people for the first time in July as employers recorded broad-based job gains in seven of 11 industries, regaining some of the lost ground from earlier in the year.

TWC estimates do not detail individual job categories in Texas counties, but the state as a whole saw significant job growth in professional and business services, education and health services, and construction.

Professional and business services jumped by 18,700 jobs in July for the third monthly increase this year. Education and health services employment grew by 14,400 positions in July, bringing the industry’s total job growth to 63,800 jobs since July 2008.

Construction posted a job gain in July of 3,000 jobs after several months of job losses. Leisure and hospitality employment in-creased 2,800 positions in July bringing the annual job growth to 14,300 positions. Financial activities employment increased by 1,800 jobs, marking the third month of job growth.

Among the metropolitan statistical areas of Texas in July, the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area had the highest jobless rate at 11.6 percent, followed by the Brownsville-Harlingen region at 10.7 percent and Beaumont-Port Arthur with 10.6 percent. No other areas of the state were higher than the U.S. figure of 9.7 percent.

The lowest figures in the state were in West Texas — Amarillo at 5.8 percent, Lubbock at 6.1, Midland at 6.3 and Abilene at 6.4 — followed by College Station-Bryan’s 6.5 percent and Texarkana’s 6.7 percent.




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