Odessa stays low on unemployment
Dec 22, 2012 (Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Figures released Friday from the Texas Workforce Commission show Odessa has the second-lowest unemployment rate in the state.
The Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area had the lowest November unemployment rate in the state at 3.0 percent. The Odessa MSA came in second at 3.6 percent, and the Amarillo MSA third at 4.1 percent (not seasonally adjusted).
The Texas unemployment rate fell to 6.2 percent in November, down from 6.6 percent in October and 7.3 percent at the start of 2012, according to a TWC release.
Guy Andrews, director of economic development with the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, said it's difficult to say whether Odessa's unemployment numbers will drop.
"We actually have probably a 5 percent unemployable number with people who either can't work or don't want to work or can't qualify for a position," he said. "So we're pretty low as it stands. Three percent is about as low as you can get. I can tell you we'll continue to have jobs added here. Where that work force comes from ... we'll probably have to import some work force from some other places."
He said the city's employment picture looks great, but whether the unemployment number drops remains to be seen.
The unemployment rate in Texas remains well below the national rate of 7.7 percent, the release said. Texas employers added 22,100 total nonfarm jobs in November for a total of 278,800 jobs added over the year.
"Texas employers have added 278,800 jobs over the past 12 months with growth in 10 of 11 industry sectors during that period," Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar stated in the release. "TWC is committed to working with our local workforce development boards and other partners to deliver quality workforce solutions that contribute to economic success."
Eight out of 11 major industries in Texas added jobs in November. Trade, transportation and utilities led the way with 20,600 jobs added over the month -- the largest monthly jump ever seen in that industry. Trade, transportation, and utilities added a total of 69,600 jobs over the last year.
"Texas is showing sustained economic strength, and our unemployment rate is now the lowest that it has been since December 2008," TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton stated in the release. "For those Texans still looking for work, TWC can help. Visit WorkInTexas.com to find a job that's right for you."
Leisure and hospitality employment grew by 6,500 positions in November. This industry has now experienced growth for four consecutive months. Leisure and hospitality has added 49,900 jobs since November 2011. Education and Health Services added 4,700 jobs over the month, totaling 45,700 jobs added over the year.
"Private sector employers continue to lead the way to growth and prosperity in Texas," TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Tom Pauken stated in the release. "We've seen 266,400 private sector jobs added in Texas over the past year, and we're maintaining a 3.0 percent annual growth rate."
The Odessa area is still in the early stages of this economic expansion, which Andrews thinks will last a long time.
"As we grow and build houses and are able to do that, you'll see more people come into the work force out here," Andrews said. "It looks good."
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