Unemployment Rate Port Arthur

May 30, 2014

Unemployment Rate for Port Arthur Drops from 15.6% to 11.3% in one year.

As I wrote that sentence I was excited. These numbers are available on the Southeast Texas Area Workforce website. The percentage numbers paint a good picture for one of our area. My excitement was short lived as I took a closer look at these numbers.

Port Arthur

Labor Force




April – 2013





April – 2014





One year






What do these numbers show?

The number of people in the Labor Force has dropped by 957 but the number of new people working increased by only 156. If you add those two numbers together it will give you the 1113 decline in Unemployment. The Labor Force numbers indicate that 957 people either moved out of our area or stopped looking for unemployment. The fact is, while our unemployment rate dropped 4.3% we only have 156 more people working in Port Arthur than we did in 2013. While this looks good for unemployment – the employment rate increased by a mere .008%. That equals less than 1%. While I am glad for any new jobs I don’t want these numbers to give us a false sense that we have solved the problem.

If we can get more people to move out or quit looking for work we could get our percentage down a few more points. That is a poor attempt at a joke. Our goal is to attract more people into Port Arthur and contributing to the labor pool. I would suspect a large part of that reduction in Labor Force is people have given up and stopped applying for a job.

I also want to point out if we assume Port Arthur has a population of 50,000, we have 27,724 citizens that do not get counted in either method of determining employment rates. One other note – this problem with reporting unemployment is not confined to just Port Arthur. The formula for computing these is the same for all cities in Texas and maybe even the United States. This simply means unemployment in Texas and the United States is probably two to three times what is reported.

Our efforts must turn to getting people to want to have a better life than can be provided by the government. Once you decide that your needs will be provided by the government you are condemned to a life of mediocrity.

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