Unemployment rates on a steady decline in county

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

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Dalondo Moultrie The Seguin Gazette

 

The job market in Guadalupe County continues to see improvement as does the economic situation across the country.

Here, though, the outlook last month was even better than the national situation this month, while the county still waits for the most recent unemployment numbers to trickle in, said Adrian Lopez, CEO of Workforce Solutions Alamo, which keeps track of unemployment claims in a 13-county region including Bexar, Comal and Guadalupe counties.

Unemployment in Guadalupe County was at about 3% in early 2020 before the pandemic infected the job numbers, he said, adding that the rate has improved in recent months.

“In June, it dropped to about 7% and July it’s about 6.5%,” Lopez said. “It’s headed in the right direction, but not where it was with historical lows back in January or March of this year.”

Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 1.4 million in August nationally, and the unemployment rate declined by 1.8 percentage points to 8.4%, according to a statement from Commissioner William W. Beach of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“These improvements reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it,” Beach wrote in an employment statement released Friday on the bureau’s website.

Lopez said he is unable to compare apples to apples in regards to Guadalupe County’s unemployment rate and the national figures. Workforce Alamo likely won’t have August unemployment rates for the county for a couple more weeks, he said.

But there has been a steady improvement.

After efforts to contain the pandemic locally put a temporary halt to many industries and companies, the county saw unheard of unemployment at about 13.7% and thereabouts in April and May, Lopez said.

Better numbers are expected to be returned for August, he said. Just as the unemployment rate got better, so have the numbers of unemployment benefit claims, Lopez said.

At its height, Guadalupe County had almost 14,000 unemployment benefit claims, he said. From March through the first week of August, the county had a total of 13,931 such claims.

That’s more than 13,000 individuals who sought assistance here, he said.

“What you saw in March and April was the shut down of basically the economy; that’s why you had those huge highs,” Lopez said.

“There was so much uncertainty associated with local businesses that they were laying off and furloughing folks. As things started to open up around the May and June timeframe, unemployment claims started to be reduced.”

Even with the staggeringly high unemployment Guadalupe County saw and the improvement underway, there are still more jobs to be had here, the Workforce Alamo CEO said.

And his organization has access to those jobs and wants to connect qualified employees with employers who are hiring, Lopez said.

He and his staff encourage people to register with Workforce Solutions Alamo through the website or a telephone hotline. The website address is workforcesolutionsalamo.org and the phone number is 210-224-HELP (4357).

Companies are posting job openings with Workforce to find employees, Lopez said. Workforce Solutions Alamo can enroll people into programs, provide training and offer other ways of gaining employable skills, he said.

“Our clients or people who have become unemployed, they may not be aware that they have those job openings and job postings,” Lopez said. “That why it’s important for them to register with us.”

The economic situation here and abroad still remain dire, but relief appears to be in the works. In the meantime, things still to some might look bleak.

“All of these numbers are pretty high, period,” Lopez said. “We’re just in unprecedented times.”

Dalondo Moultrie is the assistant managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at dalondo.moultrie@seguingazette.com .

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