Gonzales County is part of the Golden Crescent region in South Texas. This is an economically diversified area with an unemployment rate persistently below the Texas state average. Because this county is located in the Eagle Ford shale play, its economic performance has also followed closely the rise and fall of the oil and gas industry since 2010.
The area's job growth registered a record high of 8.7 percent year-over-year in March 2014. But then its overall economic and business conditions weakened as oil drilling activity slowed down. Still, by the end of 2016, its unemployment rate remained below the statewide level near 5 percent.
The economy of Gonzales County is diversified. Other than the government sector, farming, manufacturing, and retail trade are the largest employers in the area.
The 3-percent employment share of the local mining sector represents seven times the employment share of mining of a typical U.S. area. The share of farming employment is also relatively large by national standards, but this sector has shrunk considerably since 2005. Increasingly more farm land has been utilized for drilling oil and gas.
Income earnings in Gonzales County have historically been about 30 percent below the statewide average. This income gap is associated with its workforce's relatively lower educational attainment. Only 16 percent of the adult population in the area holds a Bachelor's degree or higher, compared to nearly 30 percent nationwide.
Development of the shale oil and gas industry has also contributed to the growth of businesses along with migration of more people to the area. The number of business establishments per 1,000 residents increased from 24.7 in 2009 to a peak of 26.6 in 2015.