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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

economy

The Upper East Region2020 Regional Report

This analysis predates the COVID-19 crisis and the economic impacts that followed. It is offered as an overview of the Upper East regional economy and a resource for comparative purposes.

The 23-county Upper East region encompasses about 16,000 square miles in the northeast corner of Texas, stretching from the Arkansas and Louisiana borders on the east to Cedar Creek Reservoir in the west.

The Upper East region includes three metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs): the Longview MSA, comprising Gregg, Rusk and Upshur counties; the Texarkana MSA, which comprises Bowie County, and the Tyler MSA, comprising Smith County. Counties in the region not associated with an MSA include Anderson, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Franklin, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Panola, Rains, Red River, Titus, Van Zandt and Wood counties. The economic core of the Upper East region is the city of Tyler (Smith County).

This report examines regional economic trends including population, household income, jobs and wages and education, as well as economic conditions unique to the Upper East region.

Population

The Upper East region’s estimated total population in 2019 was about 1.2 million, or 4 percent of the state’s total population. This is an increase of 4.1 percent (more than 45,000 people) since the 2010 Census. An estimated 20 percent of the region’s population is concentrated in the Tyler MSA, which also represents slightly less than 1 percent of the state’s population.

From 2010 to 2019, the region’s population grew at a slower pace than the state. While the population of each county in the region changed during this period (Exhibit 1), Rains County outpaced all others, growing by 14.7 percent, on par with the state growth rate.

Exhibit 1
Upper East Region Population by County, 2010 and 2019
County 2010 Census Estimate
(as of July 2019)
Change 2010 to 2019 Percent Change
Anderson 58,458 57,735 -723 -1.2%
Bowie 92,565 93,245 680 0.7%
Camp 12,401 13,094 693 5.6%
Cass 30,464 30,026 -438 -1.4%
Cherokee 50,845 52,646 1,801 3.5%
Delta 5,231 5,331 100 1.9%
Franklin 10,605 10,725 120 1.1%
Gregg 121,730 123,945 2,215 1.8%
Harrison 65,631 66,553 922 1.4%
Henderson 78,532 82,737 4,205 5.4%
Hopkins 35,161 37,084 1,923 5.5%
Lamar 49,793 49,859 66 0.1%
Marion 10,546 9,854 -692 -6.6%
Morris 12,934 12,388 -546 -4.2%
Panola 23,796 23,194 -602 -2.5%
Rains 10,914 12,514 1,600 14.7%
Red River 12,860 12,023 -837 -6.5%
Rusk 53,330 54,406 1,076 2.0%
Smith 209,714 232,751 23,037 11.0%
Titus 32,334 32,750 416 1.3%
Upshur 39,309 41,753 2,444 6.2%
Van Zandt 52,579 56,590 4,011 7.6%
Wood 41,964 45,539 3,575 8.5%
Tyler MSA 209,714 232,751 23,037 11.0%
Upper East Region Total 1,111,696 1,156,742 45,046 4.1%
Texas Total 25,145,561 28,995,881 3,850,320 15.3%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


Population Composition

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey, the median age of counties in the Upper East region is significantly higher than the state’s. In 2018, almost every county in the region (21 of 23) had a median age significantly higher than the state’s median age of 34.2 years. Marion County’s median age was more than 49, making it the region’s “oldest” county. The Tyler MSA’s median age of 36.3 years also was higher than the statewide median.

The Upper East region’s population in 2018 was 14.5 percent Hispanic, more than 24 percentage points lower than Hispanics’ 38.6 percent share of the state population (Exhibit 2). Non-Hispanic blacks represented 15.2 percent of the region’s population — 3.6 percentage points higher than the state average of 11.6 percent.

Household Income

In 2018, the Upper East region’s median household income was $48,967. Texas’ household income is generally distributed among five income levels (Exhibit 3). Of more than 9 million Texas households, 21 percent had incomes of less than $25,000 in 2018, while 17 percent had incomes greater than $125,000. In every region in the state, nearly 18 percent of households had average incomes between $50,000 and $75,000. Household income within the Upper East region was significantly lower than the state’s; however 29 percent of the region’s households reported average incomes exceeding $75,000, versus 38 percent of the state’s.

Exhibit 2
Upper East Region Population by Race and Ethnicity, 2018
Ethnicity Upper East Region State Total
Hispanic 14.5% 38.6%
Black (not Hispanic) 15.2% 11.6%
White (not Hispanic) 67.4% 43.4%
Other 2.9% 6.3%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Exhibit 3
Upper East Region and Texas Household Income Percentile, 2018
Income Level Upper East Region State Total
less than $25,000 25.9% 21.1%
$25,000 to $50,000 26.8% 23.0%
$50,000 to $75,000 18.2% 17.9%
$75,000 to $125,000 18.5% 20.6%
more than $125,000 10.6% 17.4%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


Regional Industries

In 2019, the Upper East region accounted for 3.4 percent of the state’s total employment. Exhibit 4 lists the industries with the greatest regional employment concentrations compared to the national average, as measured by location quotient (LQ). LQ represents an industry’s proportionate concentration in the region; an LQ greater than 1.0 means that industry employment is more concentrated in the region than nationally. A high LQ can identify industries that have a competitive advantage in the region, such as the ability to produce products more efficiently and of a higher quality.

Based on location quotients, the Upper East region is a leader in support activities for mining, pipeline transportation and oil and gas extraction, making its economy heavily reliant on the energy sector.

Exhibit 4
Top 10 Upper East Region Industries, 2019
Occupation LQ Number Employed Average Annual Wages
Support Activities for Mining 9.17 9,590 $77,526
Pipeline Transportation 4.88 756 $101,793
Oil and Gas Extraction 3.62 1,583 $117,281
Wood Product Manufacturing 2.71 3,327 $40,121
Forestry and Logging 2.71 473 $52,140
Paper Manufacturing 2.32 2,545 $64,131
Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing 2.31 786 $89,961
Animal Production and Aquaculture 2.23 1,780 $34,704
Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction 2.10 7,863 $55,652
Leather and Allied Product Manufacturing 2.05 170 $35,024
Total - All Industries 0.96 427,432 $44,034

Data are as of Q4 2019 except wage data, which are for covered employment in 2018.
Source: JobsEQ


U.S. Military Installation Impact

Texas has 14 U.S. military installations within its borders. In 2019, these bases directly employed more than 226,000 and supported nearly 634,000 jobs in all. They also contributed an estimated $75.3 billion annually to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP). Red River Army Depot, the only military installation in the Upper East region, supported an estimated 10,500 jobs in 2019 and contributed about $1.1 billion to the state’s GDP (Exhibit 5).

Exhibit 5
U.S. Military Impact on the Upper East Region Estimated 2019
Region Total Jobs Supported Contribution to State GDP
Upper East 10,566 $1.1 billion
State of Texas 633,892 $75.3 billion

Sources: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Texas Military Preparedness Commission and REMI

Learn more about the impact of U.S. military installations on the state’s economy.


Jobs and Wages

From 2009 to 2019, the Upper East region’s employment increased by almost 6 percent. The Tyler MSA’s job count rose by more than 13 percent over the same period (Exhibit 6). About 25 percent of the region’s total jobs are in the Tyler MSA.

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Exhibit 6
Upper East Texas Region Employment Trends, 2019
Area Number of Jobs (2019) Actual Change (2009 to 2019) Percent Change (2009 to 2019)
Tyler MSA 104,496 12,116 13.1%
Upper East Region 426,646 23,453 5.8%
Texas 12,531,100 2,284,407 22.3%
United States 147,886,638 17,768,373 13.7%

Note: Figures include private- and public-sector employees with the exception of active-duty military personnel, railroad employees, religious institution employees and the self-employed.

Sources: JobsEQ and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Significant Regional Occupations

The Upper East region’s most significant occupations are shown in Exhibits 7and 8, first by location quotient and second by numeric growth during the last five years.

Exhibit 7
Top Occupations in the Upper East Region by Location Quotient, 2014 to 2019
Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Wages LQ Unemployment Rate Five-Year Employment Change
Extraction Workers 4,135 $43,000 6.02 5.6% -1,493
Forest, Conservation, and Logging Workers 473 $38,300 2.36 6.5% 33
Woodworkers 1,777 $28,100 2.06 4.1% 162
Funeral Service Workers 406 $38,400 1.89 4.2% 44
Rail Transportation Workers 597 $52,300 1.88 0.9% 3

Note: Data are as of Q4 2019 except wage data, which are for covered employment in 2018.

Source: JobsEQ


Exhibit 8
Top Occupations in the Upper East Region by Numeric Growth, 2014 to 2019
Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Wages LQ Unemployment Rate Five-Year Employment Change
Other Personal Care and Service Workers 14,602 $21,400 1.1 4.8% 3,606
Food and Beverage Serving Workers 14,031 $20,600 1.03 6.2% 3,021
Building Cleaning and Pest Control Workers 11,187 $21,900 0.99 4.9% 1,347
Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners 17,756 $93,500 1.03 1.0% 1,185
Top Executives 7,013 $104,600 0.87 1.7% 748

Note: Data are as of Q4 2019 except wage data, which are for covered employment in 2018.
Source: JobsEQ


Education

A strong educational foundation provides a cornerstone for growth and competitiveness in the global economy, offering opportunities for workplace advancement and business expansion.

Wages by Educational Attainment

Post-secondary education delivers a good return on investments of time and tuition. In the Upper East Texas region, workers with some college or associate degrees and with stable jobs — defined as those employed with the same firm throughout a calendar quarter — earned an average of $4,092 more annually in 2018 than those with a high school degree, while those with at least a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $18,557 more (Exhibit 9).

Exhibit 9
Average Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment, Upper East Region and Texas, 2018
Educational Attainment Number Employed, Region Percent of Region Average Annual Earnings, Region Number Employed, Texas Percent of Texas Average Annual Earnings, Texas
Less than High School 63,355 15.2% $35,759 2,065,483 17.1% $42,808
High School or Equivalent, No College 108,069 25.9% $40,140 2,765,759 22.9% $52,035
Some College or Associate Degree 118,258 28.3% $44,232 3,245,675 26.9% $60,428
Bachelor’s Degree or Advanced Degree 71,975 17.2% $59,697 2,454,975 20.3% $95,716
Educational Attainment Unavailable 55,679 13.3% $21,089 1,544,282 12.8% $22,087
Total 417,337 $42,167 12,076,174 $58,787

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and JobsEQ


The Upper East region’s high school graduation rate has outperformed the state’s since the 2009-10 school year. During the 2017-18 school year, 93.9 percent of the region’s class of public high school senior students graduated, higher than the state’s graduation rate of 90 percent (Exhibit 10).

Exhibit 10
Upper East Region Public High School Graduation Rates, 2009-10 to 2017-18 School Year
Region2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Upper East 91.1% 92.0% 93.1% 93.6% 93.6% 93.6% 93.4% 94.2% 93.9%
Texas 84.3% 85.9% 87.7% 88.0% 88.3% 89.0% 89.1% 89.7% 90.0%

Source: Texas Education Agency


Many high school graduates enroll in postsecondary programs, which offer greater job prospects and the possibility of higher wages. Residents of the Upper East region enjoy a variety of options for higher educational achievement (Exhibit 11).

Exhibit 11 Upper East Region Institutions of Higher Education

Universities

  • East Texas Baptist University
  • Jarvis Christian College
  • LeTourneau University
  • Texas A&M University – Texarkana
  • Texas College
  • The University of Texas at Tyler
  • Wiley College

Health Science Schools

  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler

Junior and Community Colleges

  • Jacksonville College
  • Kilgore College
  • Northeast Texas Community College
  • Panola College
  • Paris Junior College
  • Texarkana College
  • Texas State Technical College – Marshall
  • Trinity Valley Community College
  • Tyler Junior College

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board


The Upper East region’s seven community college districts provided technical and academic coursework for about 37,000 students in the 2017-18 school year (Exhibit 12).

Exhibit 12
Upper East Region Community College Overview, 2017-18 School Year
Community College District Enrollment Awards Average Tuition and Fees Academic Share of Students Enrolled Technical Share of Students Enrolled Enrolled or Employed, Academic* Enrolled or Employed, Technical*
Kilgore College 5,294 1,008 $2,370 76.1% 23.9% 88.6% 88.0%
Northeast Texas Community College 3,090 746 $2,849 78.8% 21.2% 92.5% 93.9%
Panola College 2,771 606 $2,340 52.6% 47.4% 91.1% 91.7%
Paris Junior College 4,959 848 $2,400 83.4% 16.6% 87.6% 96.0%
Texarkana College 4,234 1,167 $2,770 81.3% 18.7% 84.7% 87.1%
Trinity Valley Community College 6,562 1,908 $2,640 62.0% 38.0% 90.4% 91.2%
Tyler Junior College 10,019 2,108 $2,962 53.9% 46.1% 93.8% 91.3%

*The percentage of academic or technical graduates employed in the fourth quarter of the calendar year after graduation and/or enrolled in a Texas two- or four-year institution in the following fall after graduation, as specified.

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board


In that year, the region’s community colleges awarded about 2,700 certificates and associate degrees in general studies and liberal arts; the next most-common awards were for health professions and mechanic and repair technologies (Exhibit 13).

Exhibit 13
Top 10 Certificates and Degree Awards in the Upper East Region’s Community Colleges, 2017-18 School Year
Certificates and Degrees Number Awarded
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities 2,685
Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences 1,923
Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians 576
Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services 530
Engineering Technologies/Technicians 438
Precision Production 433
Personal and Culinary Services 409
Security and Protective Services 238
Education 164
Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services 159

Source: JobsEQ


Regional Economy

The relative health of the Upper East region’s economy can be measured by its sales tax revenue and by comparisons with other areas on education, population, per capita income and unemployment rate. Together, these data are good indicators of the region’s economic dynamics and competitiveness.

Sales Tax Revenue

Sales taxes are inherently volatile in the short term but when reviewed over time can provide a useful indication of the state’s economic condition.

Sales receipts subject to state sales tax directly attributable to the Upper East region generally trended upward in the past decade, with declines during the Great recession and the severe fall in oil prices in 2016 (Exhibit 14). In 2019, taxable sales directly attributable to businesses in the Upper East region exceeded $12.8 billion, contributing about 2.3 percent to the state’s overall taxable sales. The Tyler MSA directly accounted for about $3.4 billion of this total.

Exhibit 14
Upper East Region, Taxable Sales, 2007-2019
Year Revenue Upper East Region
2007 10.1 billion dollars
2008 10.9 billion dollars
2009 9.7 billion dollars
2010 9.8 billion dollars
2011 10.4 billion dollars
2012 10.7 billion dollars
2013 10.8 billion dollars
2014 11.6 billion dollars
2015 11.5 billion dollars
2016 11.2 billion dollars
2017 11.6 billion dollars
2018 12.4 billion dollars
2019 12.8 billion dollars

Note: Numbers shown are for reported revenue subject to sales tax and directly attributed to the region.
Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts


In 1997, the U.S., Canada and Mexico jointly released the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), which classifies all business enterprises for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing economic statistics. A review of two-digit NAICS codes allows for a broad analysis of industry sectors.

In 2019, the Upper East region’s retail trade and food services and accommodation sectors contribute most to taxable sales, with the two sectors together accounting for almost 66 percent of the region’s total. Two other industries of note are the wholesale trade and the manufacturing sectors, which produced about 13 percent of the region’s taxable sales.

Upper East Region vs. the U.S.

Exhibit 15 shows how the Upper East region compares with other states and the nation on several demographic and economic measures. As a state, the region would be the 42nd largest in the nation in terms of land area (just ahead of Maryland) and the 43rd largest by population.

Exhibit 15
Upper East Region Compared to the U.S.
Measure Upper East Region Rank if Region
were a State
Texas State Rank U.S.
Square Miles 15,943 42 268,597 2 3,531,905
Population, 2019 1,156,742 43 28,995,881 2 328,239,523
Population with at Least a High School Diploma 2018 84.0% 48 83.2% 49 87.7%
Population with Bachelor’s Degree or Higher, 2018 19.0% 51 29.3% 28 31.5%
Population Under 18 Years, 2018 23.7% 10 25.8% 2 22.4%
Population 65 Years and Above, 2018 18.1% 9 12.6% 48 16.0%
Population Percent Change, 2010 to 2019 4.1% 25 15.3% 2 6.3%
Per Capita Income, 2018 $42,477 46 $50,355 26 $54,446
Unemployment Rate, 2019 3.7% 32 3.5% 27 3.7%

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.


Upper East Texas Regional Summary

The Upper East region and its 23 counties have many unique economic conditions and challenges. The region features a diverse economy that is both rural and urban. Its economic hub is Smith County, the sole county in the Tyler MSA. It is the region’s most populous county as well as its second fastest growing.

The region has seen limited population growth since 2010. Its median age is significantly older than the state’s and its average household income is less than the statewide average. The U.S. military’s presence has had a positive economic impact on the region. Its high school graduation rate has reliably outperformed the state’s rate year after year, and the local economy has seen a steady increase in taxable sales since the 2009 recession.


Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material on this page, please contact the Comptroller’s Data Analysis and Transparency Division.