Unemployment rate rises to 6.2% in August

LIVINGSTON – After dipping to its lowest level of the year in July, Polk County’s unemployment rate rose to 6.2 percent in August, according to reports issued by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

The new August rate of 6.2 percent was up by four-tenths of percentage point from the 5.8 percent rate posted for July. While up from July, the latest rate is the lowest recorded by the county in August since an identical 6.2 percent figure was posted in 2006.

The latest number is well below the 2017 high of 7.5 percent recorded in February and down substanially from the 6.7 percent set in August 2016.

The current 6.2 percent unemployment rate translates to mean that out of an estimated workforce of 17,378, there were 1,072 county residents looking for work during the month. One month earlier, TWC’s revised estimates put the local labor force at 17,412 with 1,018 people looking for jobs.

Statewide, August’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.2 percent was down from July’s 4.3 percent and down from the 4.7 percent jobles rate posted in August 2016.
The July seasonally adjusted U.S. rate of 4.4 percent was up slightly from July’s 4.3 percent and down from the 4.9 percent figure posted in August 2016.

According to TWC officials, Texas’s economy expanded for the 14th consecutive month with the addition of 5,500 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in August.

Texas’ annual employment growth was 2.5 percent, which was double the annual growth rate as compared to a year ago.

“Texas employers added 298,600 jobs over the year in the diverse and competitive Texas economy,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “TWC is dedicated to building and deploying the partnerships necessary to support the rebuilding of our Texas communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey and to put our fellow Texans back to work.”

The Trade, Transportation, and Utilities Industry recorded the largest private-industry gain over the month with 9,100 jobs added. Construction expanded by 2,600 jobs, adding 15,200 jobs over the year. Manufacturing saw an increase of 2,200 jobs in August, representing a 4.2 percent employment growth rate over the year, the industry’s highest annual growth rate since March 2012.

“Private-sector employment was strong over the year with an increase in overall jobs of 270,800, including 4,400 jobs added in August,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs. “After the devastating impacts of Hurricane Harvey, TWC and our Workforce Solutions partners are committed to ensuring our state resources and services are provided to impacted Texas businesses, individuals, and communities to help get Texans get back to work and regain their lives.”

“Several goods producing industries are showing strength in Texas, including construction, which has added 15,200 jobs over the year,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “If you have been unable to work due to Hurricane Harvey, go to for more information on disaster recovery resources.”

From among the 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) monitored by TWC, the Amarillo MSA had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.1 percent, followed the Midland MSA at 3.2 percent and the Austin-Round Rock MSA art 3.4 percent.

The MSAs with the highest jobless rate in August was the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission MSA at 8.0 percent. The Brownsville-Harlingen MSA recorded a rate of 7.3 percent and the Beaumont-Port Arthur MSA posted a 7.2 percent rate.

Unemployment rates posted for other East Texas counties include:
AUG. %
Anderson 3.6 -0.1
Angelina 5.2 +0.1
Cherokee 4.7 +0.1
Grimes 5.8 +0.2
Hardin 6.5 +0.3
Harris 5.2 +0.3
Houston 4.7 0.0
Jasper 8.0 +0.3
Jefferson 7.4 +0.4
Leon 6.8 +0.5
Liberty 7.6 +0.6
Madison 5.2 +0.1
Montgomery 4.5 +0.2
Nacogdoches 4.6 +0.1
Polk 6.2 +0.4
Sabine 8.8 0.0
San Augustine 8.0 +0.3
San Jacinto 6.0 +0.3
Shelby 5.3 0.0
Trinity 5.9 +0.5
Tyler 8.2 +0.7
Walker 5.0 0.0