County's jobless rate falls
Unemployment rate 2nd-lowest in the area

Bruce Alsobrook | News-Telegram Editor

Jan. 23, 2005 -- Hopkins County had the second-lowest unemployment rate in the area in December as the jobless rate fell slightly, a reverse of the trend seen statewide.

The county's jobless rate fell from 4.7 percent in November to 4.5 percent in December, an indicator that hiring was up during the month that sees increased retail activity due to the holiday season.

The unemployment rate in the county was 1 percentage point lower than the state of Texas overall. The Texas Workforce Commission reported Thursday that Texas unemployment was at 5.4 percent in December, the third straight month it increased.

TWC said Friday that nonagricultural employment in the state rose by 7,000 in December, the sixth straight monthly increase, but the gains were not enough to offset a rise in the number of people seeking jobs in the state.

The unemployment rate in Hopkins County was also much improved over one year ago, when statistics indicated the county's rate was at 5.2 percent. The estimates, however, also indicate that the number of jobs in the county has basically stayed the same (about 14,200) from December of 2003, but the number of people looking for work fell from 15,015 to 14,858.

In the immediate area, only one county had a lower unemployment rate than Hopkins County. Franklin County's jobless rate in December was at 3.7 percent, up from 3.1 percent in December 2003. Two other counties - Wood and Titus - matched the 4.5 percent rate recorded in Hopkins County.

Hunt County, with the largest civilian labor force in the area at 37,302, recorded a 5.4 percent jobless rate, slightly higher than Rains County's 5.3 percent and Delta County's 5.2 percent. Lamar County had the worst jobless rate in the region at 6.1 percent.

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