AUSTIN - The Texas jobless rate in April dropped below 7 percent (6.9 percent) for the first time in three years, bringing with it improved figures for several Northeast Texas counties.
The Texas Workforce Commission on Friday reported that the statewide rate fell from 7 percent in March and 8 percent a year ago. Eight of the 11 major industries in Texas gained jobs in April, led by construction with 7,300 jobs. Manufacturing added 6,300 jobs, and trade, transportation and utilities picked up 2,900 positions, according to the Associated Press.
However, some local counties struggled to keep up. Hunt County’s more than 37,600 employed citizens were the highest they’ve had in the month of April since 2000, but the increase in employment was offset by a rise in jobless claims. The rate rose from 7.4 to 7.8 percent.
But many other counties showed an improvement in labor force, with Hopkins County reducing its already lowest rate in the region from 6.2 percent in March to 5.7 percent in April. Rockwall and Collin counties dropped from 6.3 and 6.4 percent to 5.9 percent. An 8.2 percent rate in Fannin County, albeit high, is less than the 8.9 percent jobless rate the county held in March. Delta, Lamar and Rains counties also showed significant drops in unemployment.
Unemployment rates are adjusted for seasonal trends in hiring and firing, which most economists believe give a more accurate picture of the job market. Without the seasonal adjustment, the jobless rate in Texas dropped to 6.5 percent in April from 7.0 percent in March.