Some of the best economic news in years for Washington County came in today (Friday), when the Texas Workforce Commission reported a 3.6 percent unemployment rate for the month of April.
This was the best report in at least six years, and showed a decline in the county’s jobless rate by eight tenths of a percent from March. The county’s unemployment rate one year ago was 4.6 percent, a full percentage rate higher.
Brenham City Finance Officer Carolyn Miller says the expansion of Tempur-Sealy in Brenham has already added over 100 jobs and several other local businesses have hired a larger workforce in the past few months.
Washington County Economic Development Foundation Project Manager Clint Kolby said these job increases, along with excellent job training opportunities at the Hodde Technical Education Center, and the oil and gas boom have all contributed to the ‘significant drop’ in the county’s unemployment rate.
The monthly unemployment report showed good news for the entire state of Texas. The Workforce Commission reported a 4.7 percent seasonally adjusted jobless rate statewide and 12.3 million people working. There was a total of 613,600 people without jobs and continuing their search for a job.
The latest national figures had the U.S. unemployment rate at 6.3 percent.
The surrounding counties also showed positive job growth in the last month.
Austin County’s unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent for April, down from 5 percent in March.
Burleson County had a big drop in its unemployment rate. That county’s jobless rate was 3.8 percent, down from the March rate of 4.6 percent.
Colorado County joined the list of counties with a good unemployment report in April. That county recorded a 3.8 percent jobless rate, down from 4.4 percent in March.
Fayette County had an even 3 percent unemployment rate, down from 3.4 percent in the previous month.
Grimes County had a 4.3 percent unemployment rate in April, down from 5.1 percent in March.
Only six of the state’s 254 counties had double digit unemployment rates in April. Starr County along the Texas/Mexican border had the highest rate with 13.9 percent. Even so, the county showed a dramatic drop from March, The March reading was 14.8 percent.
The oil and gas drilling boom is credited for much of this good economic news so it is not surprising that oil and gas rich Hemphill County in northern Texas had the lowest unemployment rate in the state with 1.7 percent. Reagan County also had a very low rate with an even 2percent jobless rate.