Improving jobless numbers across East Texas point to recovering - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Improving jobless numbers across East Texas point to recovering economy

Source: AP Graphics Bank Source: AP Graphics Bank
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Mirroring the statewide jobless numbers, the unemployment rates for Angelina and Nacogdoches saw a marked improvement from November to December of 2014.

The jobless numbers for both counties were also drastically lower than the numbers reported for December 2013.

Statewide, 12.47 million people of a workforce of 13.01 million were employed last December. That resulted in a jobless rate of 4.1 percent, which is an improvement over the 4.6 percent reported in November 2014. In December 2013, the jobless rate was 5.6 percent.

Among the 12 counties in the Deep East Texas Workforce Development Area, Nacogdoches and Angelina County boasted the lowest jobless rates last December.

In Nacogdoches County, 28,744 people of an available workforce were employed during the month of December 2014, resulting in a jobless rate of 4.0 percent. The month before that, the county's jobless rate was 4.5 percent. Nacogdoches County's December 2013 unemployment rate was 5.5 percent.

For the month of December 2014, Angelina County's jobless rate was 4.2 percent, and improvement over the 4.6 percent unemployment rate reported in November 2014. Back in December 2013, the jobless rate was 5.5 percent.

The City of Lufkin saw a drastic improvement in its unemployment numbers over the past year, going from 5.6 percent in December 2013 to 3.8 percent in December 2014. In November, 2014, the city's jobless rate was 4.3 percent.

To the north, the City of Nacogdoches saw a similar improvement over the course of the past year. In December 2013, the city had a jobless rate of 5.5 percent, and a year later, that number had dropped to 3.9 percent. The unemployment rate for November 2014 was 4.5 percent.

Here are the jobless rates for the other counties in the Deep East Texas WDA. The November figures are listed in parenthesis.

Houston County: 5.9 percent (6.6 percent)

Jasper County: 6.3 percent (6.9 percent)

Newton County: 7.9 percent (8.0 percent)

Polk County: 5.7 percent (6.2 percent)

Sabine County: 10.3 percent (10.5 percent)

San Augustine County: 7.6 percent (8.0 percent)

San Jacinto County: 4.6 percent (5.0 percent)

Shelby County: 4.3 percent (4.7 percent)

Trinity County: 4.8 percent (5.0 percent)

Tyler County: 6.2 percent (6.9 percent)

Work Force Solution's Business Development Supervisor Sandra Rodriguez credits specific areas of our economy for this increase in hiring.

"Our major sectors have been due to healthcare, manufacturing and retail," said Rodriguez. "Also, we have notice an increase in job postings in the Lufkin and Nacogdoches areas."

For the deep rural job seekers of East Texas, hope is not lost, says Rodriguez.

"Others as far as truck driving, construction work and things like that would also fill in the rural areas," Rodriguez said.

For individuals who are still unemployed, Angelina County businesses have joined together and created a class that teaches on skills they need in potential employees.

Soft Skills Instructor Johana Coughlin explained the benefits of this type of learning.

"What soft skill pertains to is more like stress and anxiety," said Coughlin. "How to manage your anger, anger management, communication skills, organizational skills, even workplace diversity."

"A lot of times, problems at home or situations at home, People bring them to work, and problems at work or situations at work, people bring them to home," Coughlin said.

For more information on Work Force Solution soft skills class opportunities, you can visit their website at www.detwork.org.

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