Grayson County job seekers are enjoying a strong job market with a record low unemployment of 2.5 percent for the month of April.
A Texas Workforce Commission report shows the Grayson County area dropped from the around 3.0 percent it had been for several months. Workforce Solutions Texoma Executive Director Janie Bates said 3 percent is basically considered full employment and anything below 4 percent is great. She said in all her years working in the county, she has never seen a number as low as 2.5 percent.
“When we saw the number, we were very excited,” Bates said. “There’s more people out there working. It is going to be hard on our employers but it is certainly a job seekers market. When everyone is hiring, that is a good sign.”
Bates said the other reason for the low unemployment number is the robust economy. She said Grayson County is a great place to live and work right now. Sherman Economic Development Corp. President Kent Sharp said while the economy is strong, economic cycles go up and down.
“More jobs have been created in the last 12-18 months than there are workers to fill them,” Sharp said. “The only way we will see unemployment rise is when the economy enters a contraction cycle. Any number of factors could contribute to a national, state or local economic contraction.”
Sharp said some of the factors that could cause a downturn include international trade agreements, price drops in oil or gas or if a local large employer closed shop.
“Of course, we want to enjoy this strong economy as long as it will continue,” Sharp said. “However, history tells us the economy is cyclical, and will eventually adjust.”
Denison Development Alliance President Tony Kaai confirmed it was the lowest unemployment number he was aware of for the area.
“The upside, it is great for the people who are working, or seeking jobs,” Kaai said. “The downside is our local employers all the way up to health care are all finding it very difficult to fill positions. When they are struggling to fill those positions, it is hard to stay productive.”
Kaai said the area has been at or near full employment for the last two to three years. He said aside from manufacturers, the health care industry has also been growing and that is attracting a lot of higher skills workers to the area. Kaai said Finisar Corp. has begun to have an impact on the area with all the hiring it has done.
“I know several people in the health care industry alone say there is no stopping in hiring,” Kaai said. “We will keep seeing more people wanting to go to work there. There are lots of related jobs not direct to the hospitals that are coming too. Manufacturing is very stable. Finisar has begun ramping up, they are having an impact on the manufacturing base.”
While the local unemployment number hit a record 2.5 percent, the state of Texas saw a dip from 3.5 percent to 3.0 percent during the same time. On a national level, the unemployment rate was 3.3 percent.