Tyler employment hits 6-year high

Published on Friday, 16 May 2014 18:00 - Written by Casey Murphy cmurphy@tylerpaper.com

The Tyler area is seeing growth in just about every industry, officials said Friday as the employment rate skyrocketed to the highest in six years.

“I think we’re seeing growth across the board,” said Tom Mullins, president and chief executive officer of the Tyler Economic Development Council. “Name the sector. Right now we’re seeing expansion and increased activity in just about every sector.”

The last time the area had an employment rate higher than 95 percent was June 2008.

April’s rate of 95.2 percent was also up from 94.6 percent in March and 94 percent in April 2013, according to figures released by the Texas Workforce Commission.

“We are happy to see the employment rate improve” Mullins said.

He said growth can be seen in the construction, retail, service, manufacturing, distribution, hospitality and technology industries.

“Look at Trane,” Mullins said of the company that announced this week plans to bring back jobs to its Tyler facility from Mexico.

Rhonda McGrath has served as business services manager for Workforce Solutions East Texas for 10 months and has seen an upward trend in jobs throughout that time.

She said the Tyler office has been seeing a hiring event from different employees nearly every day for the past few months. Sometimes the businesses need only a handful of workers but others are much more, like Walmart Neighborhood Market hiring about 120 people. She said another Walmart Neighborhood Market is opening in Longview in August and will be hiring about 120 people there as well.

Ms. McGrath said Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals & Clinics also held a hiring event two weeks ago, looking to hire 50 people. Trane is adding a new line and other employees looking for workers recently included U.S. Steel and Trinity Industries, she said.

She expects the growth to continue in the 14 counties she covers.

“We’re just really seeing an increase in jobs,” she said.

Tyler’s employment rate nearly mirrored the state’s rate and continued to beat the country’s.

Texas’ employment rate was 95.3 percent in April, compared to 94.7 percent the month before and 94 percent the year before.

The employment rate for the U.S. was 94.1 percent last month, up from 93.2 percent in March and 92.9 percent in April 2013.

“Rising job numbers and falling unemployment rates continue to equal more opportunity for Texans,” Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement. “Every job created represents someone working to build a better life for themselves and their families, whether that means being able to own a home, send a child to college, save for retirement or make other important investments in their future.”

Texas employers expanded their payrolls by 64,100 jobs in April, for a total of 348,000 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs added over the year.

“April was a robust month for Texas job growth; the unemployment rate continues to fall, and we posted the highest monthly job growth in well over three years,” Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar said.

During the month, eight of the 11 major industries in Texas experienced positive growth. Employment in Professional and Business Services grew by 20,100 positions, the largest monthly increase ever recorded for the industry.

“We’re fortunate in Texas to see significant growth across several industries,” TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton said. “Trade, transportation and utilities is one example of this encouraging trend, adding 16,300 positions in April — the most in the industry in over 20 years.”

Education and health services grew by 8,100 positions last month. The Mining and Logging industry added 7,600 jobs over the month and continued to post the highest annual growth rate of all major industries in Texas, at 7.5 percent. Construction added 7,500 positions in April, the strongest monthly increase for the industry since July 2011.