Gains in employment benefit East Texas economic development

Gains in employment benefit East Texas economic development
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The national unemployment rate dropped below four percent in April, according to a Labor Department report.

These are numbers not seen since the year 2000.
This news didn't surprise Workforce Solutions Executive Director Mark Durand.

"We cover 12 counties of Deep East Texas, and in 2017, that unemployment rate was 6.3 percent so we have dropped to 5.3 percent," Durand said.

According to Durand, economic development has a lot to do with the lower rate.

"There's a big push for our region in order to bring back to the rural areas instead of going to the metropolitan areas," Durand said.

In fact, Durand said if you plan on finding a summer job, right now is a good time.

The unemployment rate for Angelina County has dropped by 1.3 percent compared to last year.

"The unemployment numbers were 4.6 percent compared to 2017 when it was 5.9 percent," Durand said.

At the golf course in Crown Colony, Cory Ryan said he's hired a few more employees than normal.

"I started getting applications like early spring around spring break," Ryan said. "It fills up pretty quick."

It has filled up so fast, he already has enough staff for the summer.

"Anywhere from six to nine kids work here now," said Ryan.

But with the increase in jobs, more opportunities are available this summer.

"We're always needing lifeguards for Jones Pool and that's one of the main things," said Director of Parks and Recreation Mike Akridge.

Akridge said within the Parks and Recreation Department, there are three openings for this position.

The national report shows employers have added jobs every month for seven and a half years.

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