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Jobless rate soars to 18.1% locally

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic continued to hammer the economy in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area.

The local unemployment rate through April more than doubled that of March to 18.1 percent, according to recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Southwest Information Office. Of the 162,700 civilians available to work locally — a steep drop from 173,000 in March — 29,500 were unemployed.

The numbers are preliminary as figures for the month-before-last always reflect the week that includes the 12th date (the reference week being April 12-18). Final numbers for March were 8.2 percent unemployment, with 14,200 without a job.

Nonfarm employment in April 2020 dropped 11.9 percent from April 2019, with the biggest 12-month percentage drop coming in professional and business services (17.5 percent). Mining, logging and construction, a data category that includes the oil and gas industry, saw a 15.3 percent drop.

Unemployment rates were higher in April 2020 than a year earlier in all 389 metropolitan areas. The national unemployment rate in April was 14.4 percent, up 3.3 percent from that month last year.

The highest unemployment rate for a statistical area nationally in April 2020 was 35 percent in Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii. Logan, Utah, had the lowest rate at 6.2 percent.