Area jobless rate declining
Sunday, May 30, 2021
Dalondo Moultrie The Seguin Gazette
As it has in recent months, Guadalupe County continues to slightly outpace the state and the region in returning employees back to work following skyrocketing unemployment amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
According to April numbers released by Workforce Solutions Alamo, the county’s unemployment rate was 4.7%, down from 5.5% a month earlier. For the same month, unemployment in Texas was at 6.3%.
The eight-county San Antonio-New Braunfels metropolitan area saw unemployment decrease .9 percentage points to 5.6%, according to Workforce Solutions Alamo.
The Alamo region that includes Guadalupe, Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Frio, Gillespie, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, McMullen, Medina and Wilson counties registered an unemployment rate of 5.5%, Workforce Solutions Alamo CEO Adrian Lopez said.
“Guadalupe County definitely is doing much better,” he said. “We credit the works of the local folks like the economic development corporation and the local leadership to continuously bring in new jobs. There are some new businesses coming into that county.”
Guadalupe County fared better than the national unemployment rate of 5.7%, Workforce said.
As he has said throughout the pandemic, the gains the county and region have realized fall well short of where the economy was before COVID-19 showed up here or where it needs to be.
As of Wednesday, May 26, Workforce Solutions Alamo had about 140,000 job seekers registered in its system, Lopez said. A mismatch existed with the organization only listing about 40,000 to 41,000 available jobs, he said.
“Those are people who are still looking for work in our region,” Lopez said. “But the number of job postings is straddling at about 41,000 jobs. As much as we want people to go back to work, there are still some jobs that need to be created in order for us to address the folks that want to be employed.”
As vaccines continued to roll out and governments further loosened restrictions on businesses, Gov. Greg Abbott announced on May 17 that Texas would discontinue offering additional $300 supplemental unemployment payments made possible through a federal program.
June 26 is the effective date the increased payments will end, Abbott said.
“The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring in communities throughout the state,” Abbott said at the time of his announcement. “According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment benefits. That assessment does not include the voluminous jobs that typically are not listed, like construction and restaurant jobs. In fact, there are nearly 60% more jobs open (and listed) in Texas today than there was in February 2020, the month before the pandemic hit Texas.”
Good paying jobs are on the market, Abbott said. He cited statistics suggesting that 45% of available jobs pay more than $15.50 per hour and about 76% pay more than $11.50.
Some workers have to weigh their options to return to work with the knowledge that child care costs can be prohibitive to working outside the home.
“Potentially, this issue about removing the $300 is going to make people make choices about what’s in the best interests of their families,” Lopez said. “Can they afford to go back to work if they don’t have their child care issues met? It’s going to be based on the individual families.”
Workforce Solutions Alamo tries to help, he said.
His organization provides assistance with child care for about 10,000 children per day, Lopez said. That amounts to about 6,000 families per day and about $75 million spent annually.
With Workforce’s help and other assistance on top of businesses investing here, this region has fared well so far, Lopez said.
One reason businesses were able to stay afloat was because stimulus funds helped them bridge the gap between bad times to better times, he said.
“The other is if you were to talk to economic development agencies including the EDC in Seguin, you will hear from them saying there is no shortage of companies wanting to come and be in this region,” Lopez said. “There are projects that started pre-pandemic and others during the pandemic that have expressed interest in coming to this region.”
Category: news, workforce, Guadalupe County