County’s unemployment rate inches above 5 Percent

LIVINGSTON – After falling to its lowest level in almost 17 years, unemployment in Polk County inched upward in November climbing to 5.1 percent, according to figures released by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

The agency posted a 4.9 percent jobless rate for the county during October, which is the first time in almost 17 years that unemployment has dipped below the 5.0 percent mark. The last time this was reported was the 4.8 percent rate posted in December 2000.

While the November report saw unemployment rise, it was still the second lowest rate posted in 2017 and the second lowest in since a 5.0 rate was recorded in April 2008.
TWC frequently revises the figures as it collects additional data so it is possible that the latest 4.9 and 5.1 percent figures could go up or down slightly in the next 30 to 60 days.

The new rate is down significantly from 2017’s high of 7.5 percent recorded in February.

In addition to being among the lowest jobless rates of the year, the 5.1 percent November rate is down 1.1 percentage point from the 6.2 percent rate recorded in November 2016.

The current 5.1 percent unemployment rate translates to mean that out of an estimated workforce of 17,324, there were 891 county residents looking for work during the month. One month earlier, TWC’s revised estimates put the local labor force at 17,194 with 843 people looking for jobs.

Statewide, November’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.8 percent set a new record for the lowest unemployment rate recorded in four decades. It was down from October’s 3.9 percent and down from the 4.8 percent jobless rate posted in November 2016.

The November seasonally adjusted U.S. rate of 4.1 percent was unchanged from October but down from the 4.6 percent figure posted in November 2016.
According to TWC officials, the state added 54,500 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in November. Annual employment growth for the state was 2.7 percent during the month, marking 91 consecutive months of annual growth.

“The addition of 330,600 jobs over the year demonstrates the consistency with which employers in our state create job opportunities for the highly skilled Texas workforce,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “The Texas economy offers employers access to a competitive workforce and provides job seekers with career options in a variety of growing Texas industries.”

Nine of eleven major industries showed increased growth in November, including Professional and Business Services with 14,700 jobs added and Construction which added 8,200 positions. Leisure and Hospitality employment continued to grow by adding 8,000 jobs in November.

Employment in Education and Health Services increased by 8,200 positions. Over the year, this industry has gained 40,400 jobs. Trade, Transportation, and Utilities employment grew by 8,200 jobs, and Manufacturing industry jobs increased by 2,700 positions.

“Private-sector employers added 52,000 jobs in November and have accounted for the addition of 294,600 positions in Texas over the past year,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs. “I am encouraged by the growth across a variety of industries and commend our employers for their investment in our Texas workforce.”

“Employment demand continues to be high in well-paying industries such as Manufacturing, Construction, and Mining and Logging,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “I encourage career exploration in these and other industries that are growing in Texas. TWC’s labor market information tools and products are designed to inform, prepare and advance our Texas workforce. Visit a Workforce Solutions Office to find out more about the latest employment opportunities available.”

From among the 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) monitored by TWC, the Amarillo and Midland MSAs had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 2.6 percent, followed the Austin-Round Rock, College Station-Bryan and Lubbock MSA at 2.7 percent and the San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA at 3.0 percent.

The MSAs with the highest jobless rate in November was the Beaumont-Port Arthur MSA at 6.5 percent followed by the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission MSA at 6.2 percent. The Brownsville-Harlingen MSA recorded a rate of 5.8 percent.

Unemployment rates posted for other East Texas counties include:
NOV. %
Anderson 3.0 +0.2
Angelina 4.3 +0.3
Cherokee 4.0 +0.3
Grimes 4.3 +0.2
Hardin 5.6 +0.2
Harris 4.3 +0.1
Houston 3.9 +0.2
Jasper 6.8 +0.5
Jefferson 6.7 +0.2
Leon 5.5 +0.3
Liberty 6.0 +0.3
Madison 3.9 +0.3
Montgomery 3.7 +0.3
Nacogdoches 3.6 +0.3
Polk 5.1 +0.2
Sabine 7.6 +0.9
San Augustine 6.7 +0.8
San Jacinto 5.0 +0.3
Shelby 4.3 +0.2
Trinity 5.1 +0.4
Tyler 6.4 +0.5
Walker 4.0 +0.3

Copyright 2016 Polk County Enterprise