The unemployment rate in the three-county Longview metro area dropped to 3.7% in September from 3.9% in August while the state rate held steadily for four months at 3.4%, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Friday.
The number of unemployed people in the Longview metropolitan statistical area of Gregg, Rusk and Upshur counties declined from 3,700 to 3,500, according to the commission. The 3.9% rate in August matched the rate in September 2018, when 3,800 people were between jobs.
The relatively steady rate is a sign of a stable area economy, two officials said.
“It is an indicator that the East Texas economy is strong and growing stronger,” said Chuck King, chairman of the board of directors of the Longview Chamber of Commerce. “And employers are still recruiting, and that is a great sign, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.”
The steady rate was “great news” to Robert Johnson, executive director of the Gladewater Economic Development Corp. and past president of the Gladewater Chamber of Commerce.
“The economy seems to be holding consistently, as we’ve noticed in the last few reports from the Texas Workforce Commission,” Johnson said.
The statewide rate matches the record low set in June and has been the lowest rate since series tracking began in 1976, the commission said.
“Texas’ fourth straight month of record-setting low unemployment rates highlights the competitive strength of Texas business, whose broad-based growth across industries provides exceptional opportunities for our highly skilled workforce,” TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel said in a statement. “Texas continues to be a national leader in job creation and the premier place to do business.”
Texas employers added 300,000 jobs over the year, the commission said. Total nonfarm annual growth was at 2.4% in September and has held at or above 2% since February 2018.
Professional and business services added 9,600 jobs statewide in September, followed by construction at 7,200 and education and health services as 1,800. However, transportation, trade and utilities lost 7,400 jobs and mining and logging, which includes the oil and gas industry, fell by 1,100 jobs.
The Midland MSA recorded the lowest unemployment rate of MSAs statewide in September at 2% while McAllen-Edinburg-Mission posted the highest rate at 5.9%.
Meanwhile, the commission has relaunched WorkinTexas.com with new features designed to improve talent and job matching.
The commission said the website includes a resume upload, with revision features; resume scoring; and a Virtual Recruiter that works throughout the day to match job skills.
Employers may post jobs on WorkInTexas.com for free, set up a Virtual Recruiter and access the local talent pool.