The unemployment rate in the Longview metro area dropped from 4% in July to 3.9% in August, while the statewide rate held steady at 3.4%, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Friday.
The number of people between jobs in the Longview Metropolitan Statistical Area of Gregg, Rusk and Upshur counties dropped from 3,900 in July to 3,800 in August, the commission said. The unemployment rate was 4.2% a year ago when 4,100 people were between jobs.
Shayne Wilson, president of the Gilmer Area Chamber of Commerce in Upshur County, said an indication in his community of low unemployment is the number of businesses having a hard time hiring people.
“I can see it continue to improve, just from the amount of people that are looking for good workers,” said Wilson, a real estate agent. “If you just go through town, Walmart has signs out. Pretty much everywhere you look, somebody is looking for employees.”
Texas has seen growth of 303,500 jobs throughout the year, the commission reported. Total nonfarm annual employment grew by 2.4% in August and has held at or above 2% since February 2018.
“Our economy is robust, and our workforce is thriving,” Julian Alvarez, commissioner representing labor, said in a statement. “At TWC, we’re working hard to provide each member of our 14 million-strong workforce with opportunities to sharpen their skills, build their careers and keep Texas one of the best places in the country to live and work.”
Leading job growth in August was education and health services, adding 8,800 jobs, followed by the government sector with 3,400 jobs and financial activities at 3,200.
Mining and logging, which includes the oil and gas industry, lost 1,800 jobs in August.
The Midland MSA recorded the lowest unemployment rate in August among MSAs statewide with a nonseasonally adjusted rate of 2.2%, followed by the Amarillo MSA at 2.7%.
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission had the highest unemployment rate statewide in August at 6.4%.