County’s jobless rate on track to be lowest in 7 years

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK | News-Telegram Managing Editor

Oct. 12, 2007 - The unemployment rate in Hopkins County fell to 3.6 percent in August, marking only the 10th time this decade the jobless rate has been below 4 percent.

It was also the third month this year, however, that the unemployment rate was lower than 4 percent.

The county is also on pace to record the lowest annual jobless rate of the decade. Through the first eight months of this year,the county’s monthly unemployment rate has averaged 3.84 percent.

The lowest of the decade came in 2000, when the annual rate was 4.1 percent. The highest was 2003 at an even 6 percent.

The numbers also indicate a strong increase in jobs in the county since the year 2000. The total number of people working in Hopkins County in August was 16,990. That's 1,025 more people in the county with jobs than in the same month seven years ago.

Hopkins County's jobless rate in August was also almost a full percentage point lower than the same month in 2006, when unemployment was at 4.4 percent. The difference, however, can be attributed to a smaller civilian labor force, which is the number of people working or actively seeking jobs. That number fell from 17,920 last year to 17,626.

Hopkins County was not the only one in the area, however, to see unemployment decline significantly in August when compared to the same month in 2006. In fact, all bordering nearby and counties saw a reduction in unemployment from a year ago.

In Delta County, the rate dropped from 5.5 percent in August of 2006 to 4.1 percent this year.

To the east in Franklin County, joblessness fell from 4.6 percent to 3.6 percent, while Titus County unemployment dipped from 4.5 percent to 3.8 percent.

Wood County's rate declined from 5.4 percent to 4.5 percent, while Rains County recorded 4.3 percent unemployment, down from 5 percent in August of last year.

Hunt County’s jobless rate improved from 5.3 percent to 4.2 percent.

Lamar County also saw its labor market improve, with the rate falling from 5.5 percent in August of 2006 to 4.7 percent.

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