County records 4.7% jobless rate, lowest in area in June
Bruce Alsobrook | News-Telegram Editor

July 26, 2006 -- Hopkins County's unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent in June, down slightly from one year ago and an improvement of 2.1 percentage points from 2003. It was also the lowest jobless rate in the area for the month.

After reaching a low point of 4.2 percent in the first year of this decade, June unemployment marched upward for three consecutive years, hitting its crescendo at 6.8 percent in 2003.

Since then, however, the rate has fallen each June.

The 4.7 percent figure was up from 4.3 percent in May of this year, but as in years past, that wasn't unexpected. Unemployment traditionally grows from May to June with the ending of school and resultant rise in the number of young jobseekeers entering the labor pool -- at least until autumn, when they go back to school and the jobless rate goes down again.

And the 0.4 percentage point rise from May to June was one of the lesser increases in the area, trailing only fast-growing Rains County (4.6 percent to 4.8 percent) and tied with Lamar County, where the jobless rate rose to 6.3 percent. Unfortunately, Lamar County's unemployment rate was also the highest in the immediate area in May and June, just 0.1 percentage points more than Delta County.

Hopkins County's 4.7 percent figure in June also happened to be the lowest in the area, just ahead of the 4.8 percent in Franklin County, which had the lowest in May at 4.1 percent.

Hopkins County also gained a significant number of jobs, according to the estimates compiled by the Texas Workforce Commission. The number of jobs rose from 16,917 last June to 17,324 this year, a 2.4 percent gain. Should a similar growth trend continue through the end of the decade, Hopkins County could be home to more than 18,800 jobs by 2010.

Almost all counties in the region saw June unemployment drop from one year ago. The lone exceptions were Hunt County, where the rate rose from 5.7 percent in June 2005 to 5.9 percent last month, and Wood County, which was unchanged at 5.3 percent.

Hunt County still has the largest labor market with a civilian labor force of 40,963 and 38,552 jobs. Lamar County's 23,400 CLF and 21,916 jobs were followed by Hopkins County's labor force of 18,174 and 17,324 jobs.

Wood County's CLF was just behind Hopkins at 18,058, with 17,100 jobs.

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