economy

Upper East Region Snapshot

Download PDF.

As the state's chief financial officer, I am charged with monitoring the economic health of our state. Therefore, it's vitally important that my office studies factors related to our regional economies.

The 23 counties comprising the Upper East Region cover the eastern portion of the state bordering Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

Below, we track regional trends in population growth, personal income, jobs and wages, education and workforce — a wildcard issue that, if left unaddressed, is of particular concern to the region.

Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Upper East Region Counties

  • Anderson
  • Bowie
  • Camp
  • Cass
  • Cherokee
  • Delta
  • Franklin
  • Gregg
  • Harrison
  • Henderson
  • Hopkins
  • Lamar
  • Marion
  • Morris
  • Panola
  • Rains
  • Red River
  • Rusk
  • Smith
  • Titus
  • Upshur
  • Van Zandt
  • Wood

A quarter of Texas' forestry and logging jobs are located in the Upper East Region.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Key Industries 2016

  • Forestry and Logging
  • Wood Product and Manufacturing
  • Paper Manufacturing
  • Mining (except Oil and Gas)
  • Primary Metal Manufacturing
  • Warehouse and Storage
  • Food Manufacturing
  • Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
  • Crop Production

Population Growth

Upper East Region vs. Texas and U.S., 2004-2014

  • Region: 7%
  • Texas: 20%
  • U.S.: 9%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Texarkana's federal building is the only one of its kind, situated in two states. (Texas and Arkansas)

Source: Texas Almanac, Texas State Historical Association

Employment in the Upper East Region's construction industry increased nearly 50 percent from 2004-2014; that's 2.5 times Texas' growth.

U.S. construction jobs, meanwhile, have declined.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Personal Income

Personal income in the Upper East Region rose from $27.4 billion in 2004 to $43.6 billion in 2014. It accounted for 3.5 percent of the state's $1.23 trillion in personal income in 2014.

Upper East Region Income Highlights
County 2014 Per Capita Income 10-Year Per Capita Income Growth
Gregg $49,913 62%
Panola $44,173 80%
Harrison $43,297 63%
Smith $43,249 44%
Franklin $38,688 28%
Morris $37,831 60%
Lamar $37,540 47%
Hopkins $36,572 47%
Camp $35,936 33%
Delta $35,889 71%
Bowie $35,795 35%
Rusk $35,633 57%
Upshur $35,427 53%
Red River $35,219 60%
Henderson $35,086 43%
Marion $34,591 67%
Cass $33,870 40%
Wood $33,703 54%
Van Zandt $33,402 36%
Cherokee $32,422 40%
Anderson $31,815 55%
Rains $31,775 42%
Titus $31,171 26%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Per Capita Personal Income Growth, 2004-2014

  • Region: 49%
  • Texas: 47%
  • U.S.: 34%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Per capita personal income grew by 49 percent, more than the state's 47 percent average.

While regional per capita income has grown faster than the state, the level of per capita income in the Upper East Region has remained lower than the state. Regional per capita income grew to $38,703 in 2014, compared to $45,669 statewide.

Jobs and Wages

Job Growth, 2004-2014

  • Region: 9.8%
  • Texas: 21.7%
  • U.S.: 5.5%

Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Intl.

The Upper East Region accounts for about 19 percent of Texas Christmas tree production.

Source: United State Department of Agriculture and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

The 2014 regional average wage of $40,343 was lower than the state average of $52,537.

Average wages in the Upper East Region increased 36.5 percent from 2004 to 2014, mirroring Texas' growth and exceeding the U.S. pace.

Education

Upper East Region Public High School Graduates, 2014

  • Smith County: 18%
  • Gregg County: 13%
  • Bowie County: 9%
  • Harrison County: 7%
  • Van Zandt County: 6%
  • Other counties in Upper East Region: 48%

Of 120 independent school districts in the region, only one – Smith ISD – had more than 900 public high school graduates.

Three districts — Tyler, Longview and Texarkana — accounted for 17 percent of all Upper East public high schools graduates in 2014.

Source: Texas Education Agency and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Aging Workforce

By most metrics, the Upper East Region has one of the state's oldest populations. The region's labor force participation ranks among the lowest in the state.

Banking, legal, accounting, medical and other professional services have a high proportion of workers age 55 and over. Many of these professions require advanced degrees and training, so employers may struggle to replace retirees.

An exodus of retirement-age workers would drive down regional income, cooling demand for goods and services. Lower sales tax revenues translate to scarcer public resources.

Furthermore, age-related tax exemptions cut $3.7 billion from school districts' property bases.

Net In-Migration Rates by Age, 2000 - 2010
Name 0-4 5-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 65-69 70-74 75-79
Texas 2.13 5.81 10.99 11.61 14.36 18.26 15.92 12.42 8.61 6.02 5.02 4.29 6.73 8.39 8.15 2.26
Upper East 2.13 7.72 9.10 7.77 -4.51 -5.93 11.53 10.41 8.13 6.52 7.09 9.07 16.17 18.81 14.29 -1.91

Source: Applied Population Laboratory, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Conclusion

Graced with the majesty of the Piney Woods, the Upper East Region is an emerald on the Texas landscape. No wonder it provides a large portion of the state's jobs in forestry, logging and related manufacturing industries.

Its aging population could limit economic development, however. To improve its prospects, the region would benefit from efforts to attract young workers and ensure a diverse workforce and sustainable economy.

Overall, the region supports a stable workforce and will continue to serve as a key supplier of resources vital to the Texas economy.

Questions?

Contact the Comptroller's Data Analysis and Transparency Division at 800-531-5441, ext. 6-9231, or via email.