The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M has released a report showing the Longview metro area of Gregg, Rusk and Upshur counties posted a 4.2 percent rate of employment growth for the period of June 2010 through this June.  That's the highest rate in the state.

That rate outpaced 25 other metro areas in Texas, including Dallas, Houston and Austin. It's also substantially ahead of second-place Odessa, which had a job growth rate of 3.5 percent for the year.

The Texas Workforce Commission this past week reported the Longview area added about 1,700 jobs in the mining, logging and construction sector in the past year — that includes energy industry jobs.

Longview Mayor Jay Dean says the area's strong oil and natural gas exploration and service sector is a big plus and an important part of the local economy’s strength.

While the energy industry is a big job builder, Susan Mazarakes-Gill, executive director of Longview Economic Development Corp., says the Longview area’s job growth has been much broader a diverse.

"We are strong in all 12 of the industry sectors the Real Estate Center tracks, not reliant on just one or two.”

The education sector in the Longview/Kilgore/Marshall area also plays a role in creating jobs.  High schools, colleges, universities and trade schools are offering courses that prepare students for jobs that are available.  This unending supply of educated and trained workers is a big draw for companies looking for new locations in Texas.