For the second month in a row, Grayson County unemployment numbers continued to decline. After hitting double digits for the first time in many years in April due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, numbers have declined as people have returned to work.
The Texas Workforce Commission has released its latest employment report, and its findings for Grayson County are mimicking the same downward trend as the numbers for Texas.
"June’s labor market numbers demonstrate we are moving in the right direction," Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chairman Bryan Daniel said in the report. "As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to evolve, the Texas Workforce Commission is committed to adapting to the needs of our great state."
For June, the Sherman-Denison area saw unemployment drop to 6.8 percent from May’s 9.6 percent. By comparison, April saw unemployment hit double digits at 10.3 percent.
While the month did see improvement, it still remains significantly higher than June 2019, which saw only 3.2 percent unemployment.
"I think that is a very good number," Workforce Solutions Texoma Executive Director Janie Bates said Wednesday. "We have also seen a drop in the number of people applying for unemployment, so that is a good thing as well."
Local unemployment still remains below state and national levels, which both decreased to 8.9 percent and 11.2 percent, respectively.
Over the past week, only 205 people in Grayson County applied for unemployment, the lowest WST has seen in weeks. Since March 1, there have been 4,224 continuous unemployment claims within Grayson County.
Bates said she expects this trend of improvement to continue into next month’s number despite some increasing restrictions on bars and restaurants in July amid a surge in COVID-19 cases statewide.Unlike in March and April, this did not lead to widespread closure of businesses.
"I do not think that we had many businesses that were closed by that," Bates said. "I do not know of any bars or restaurants that did, actually."
Other signs of the recovery can be seen in the increasing number of job postings that are listed with WST, Bates said. As of this week, WST has 907 jobs listings posted. The end of July also marks the end of increased unemployment benefits for some workers, which likely will lead some to return to the workforce.
"I think more people will be anxious to take jobs than they were two or three weeks ago."
Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.