Athens Review, Athens, Texas

October 24, 2013

County in middle

New index rates jobs and economic possibilities in HC

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — An Austin-based nonprofit organization  has developed a new tool to show how each county stacks up in a wide variety of economic indicators.

The Centers For Public Policy Priorities, a non-partisan “think tank” committed to improving public policies to better the economic and social conditions of low and moderate-income Texans, has created the Texas Regional Opportunity Index as a way to compare 65 indicators on economic development.

“The Texas Regional Opportunity Index helps communities and policymakers understand how their residents are faring, and what they can do to improve opportunity for families,” Don Baylor, senior economic opportunity policy analyst for the CPPP said.

According to the index, Henderson County ranked in the middle, compared with its nearest neighbors, Anderson, Kaufman, Navarro and Van Zandt counties in several key categories.

Henderson County was third in that group in the number of establishments with paid employees per 1,000 population, with 15.8. Kaufman County fared best with 19. Statewide there are 20 such establishments per 1,000 population.

Henderson County was also third in the share of the working-age population in the labor force with 78.8 percent. Again, Navarro County scored best with 86.3 percent. Texas had 93.1 percent in the work force.

Of the five counties, Henderson County had the highest percentage of its employees working in small businesses with less than 20 employees, with 89.9 percent. In Texas, 88.4 percent of the employees work for small businesses.

Henderson County has slightly above the state average in unemployment insurance claimants who have been receiving benefits for more than 26 months. Henderson County’s 57.8 percent is more than Texas’ 56.2 percent, but less than Navarro County, with 59.9 precent.

The remainder of the 65 categories rated by the TROI can be found at the Centers for Public Policies Priorities website.