|Local labor market looking stronger|
|Bruce Alsobrook | News-Telegram Editor|
May 20, 2005 - The labor market in Hopkins County looks to be taking a significant turn for the better.
Data compiled by the Texas Workforce Commission for March indicates a sharp upturn in the number of people in the county with jobs, as well as a notable decline in the unemployment rate.
The March jobless rate in Hopkins County stood at 5.1 percent, down from 5.7 percent in March of 2004.
Meanwhile, the number of people in the county with jobs rose by more than 350 from the same time period one year before. The workforce commission’s report for March lists 15,871 people employed in Hopkins County, up from 15,514 in March of 2004.
The March 2005 totals of people employed were also up significantly from February of this year, when the TWC report estimated 15,676 people in Hopkins County were working.
The news comes as the area heads into a time of year that traditionally sees more and more people looking for work and more jobs opening up. Warmer weather and the end of school sessions open up more opportunities in the workplace, and the county’s civilian labor force — the number of people either working or looking for jobs — usually hits its peak of the calendar year in either July or August.
Last year, for example, the CLF rose from 16,446 in March to 17,360 by July. In that same time span, the number of people working climbed from 15,514 to 16,410.
Hopkins County’s 5.1 percent jobless rate compares favorable to most other counties in the region.
The lowest unemployment rates were 5 percent in three counties — Franklin, Rains and Titus. Franklin County’s rate was up from one year before, when the jobless percentage was at 4.2, while Rains County’s rate fell from 5.5 percent in March of 2004. Titus County’s unemployment was at 5.4 percent a year ago.
Wood County unemployment, meanwhile, was at 5.3 percent, a significant improvement from the 6 percent in March of 2004.
Hunt County’s 6.1 percent rate was also better than the 6.4 percent recorded one year ago.
Delta County, with 6.5 percent unemployment, had the second highest rate in the area, but the figures were down from 6.7 percent in March of 2004.
Lamar County’s rate was the highest at 6.6 percent, although that was also down from March of 2004’s 6.8 percent.