County jobless rate falls
But number of jobs also takes a drop

Bruce Alsobrook | News-Telegram Editor

July 17, 2004 -- Hopkins County's jobless rate in June was down more than 1 full percentage point from the same time in 2003, although the figures didn't necessarily translate into more jobs.

Unemployment in the dairy capitol of Texas stood at 5.5 percent last month, down 1.1 percentage points from June of 2003, according to estimates by the Texas Workforce Commission.

The labor rate for last month was up from 4.7 percent in May, but the increase wasn't unexpected. Traditionally, the influx of high school and college students on leave from classes in the summer swells the ranks of those seeking jobs.

While the jobless rate declined from one year ago, so did the number of employment opportunities, according to the estimates. The number of jobs in the county fell from 14,501 in June of 2003 to 14,481 this year.

The fall was minimimized by an overall decline in the civilian labor force, which is a count of the number of people either working or actively seeking unemployment. The CLF dropped from 15,532 in June of 2003 to 15,328 last month.

Similarly, the city of Sulphur Springs also experienced an improvement in its labor market. Unemployment within the city limits fell from 7.9 percent in June 2003 to 6.6 percent one month ago.

The number of jobs in the city delined by only nine to 6,900, while the number of people looking for work dipped from 7,503 to 7,388.

Hopkins was one of four counties in the immediate area that saw its unemployment rate decline in June.

Rains County -- one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation in terms of percentage -- saw unemployment fall from 7.6 percent in June of 2003 to 5.5 percent last month.

Hunt County also saw improving numbers, with the rate dropping from 8.1 percent to 6.6 percent. That county also saw the number of jobs within its borders rise from 34,534 to 34,980.

Wood County unemployment, meanwhile, declined from 5.8 percent in June of last year to 5 percent, but the county also saw the total number of jobs drop slightly.

The two counties with rising unemployment rates were Delta and Franklin. Delta County's jobless rate rose from 4.7 percent a year ago to 5.9 percent in June, while Franklin County unemployment climbed from 3.8 percent to 4.9 percent.

Franklin County actually experienced slight job growth, from 4,388 to 4,406, but the numbers weren't enough to offset the rise in the number of people looking for work.

The state Workforce Commission reported the statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped by two-tenths of a percentage point to 5.7 percent from May to June. Texas employers added jobs for the ninth consecutive month. The number of unemployed Texans declined 22,834 from May to June and has declined 116,158 since June 2003.

Total Nonagricultural Employment in Texas gained 3,300 jobs from May to June and 111,700 jobs since September 2003. Initial claims for unemployment compensation for the week ending July 3, 2004, declined 8.0 percent compared to one year ago.

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