With more jobs available, the unemployment rates are falling – and not just in Beeville but across South Texas.
Last week, Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend released the April 2012 snapshot on unemployment rates for the 12-county area that it covers, including Bee County. In all of the 12 counties, the unemployment rate has gone down.
“For the first time in more than three years, the Coastal Bend region has seen reductions in the unemployment rates for each of its 12 counties, the Corpus Christi Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), Workforce Development Area, Texas and the nation,” said the press release.
In Bee County alone, the unemployment rate has fallen 27.6 percent from April 2010 to April 2012.
“April’s employment report is a great indicator of our ever-strengthening region,” said Victor M. Gonzalez Jr., chairman, Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend.
The rate is going down every month, and from March to April 2012, the unemployment rate went from 7.2 percent to 6.8 percent.
“Its been good for our county, no doubt,” Bee County Judge David Silva said. “This has been a blessing and a God-send, people are making money.”
When asked how he felt about the latest stats on unemployment rates, Bee County Commissioner Carlos Salazar said, “It feels great. It’s good news, and it’s a reflection of the oil boom we are having.”
The Eagle Ford Shale has a lot to with the unemployment rates going down and Silza thinks it might be that way for some time.
“For the unforeseeable future, yes the job market will be what it is, as long as nothing catastrophic happens, then all bets are off.”
Even though there is only active drilling currently going on in the northern part of the county, Salazar said there has been a “trickle down effect” felt in Beeville.
New motels, restaurants, RV parks and other businesses have opened in the past year and all have needed to hire employees.
Additionally, already established businesses such as fast-food chains are busier than ever before and are having to hire more staff. People who already have jobs are also leaving their jobs to pursue new jobs that pay better.
“Any time it (unemployment rates) goes down, it’s good news,” Salazar said. “I hope it keeps going down.”
The unemployment rates can also be felt in the county’s sales tax revenue. With more people working, more money is being spent in the county, and the county has been able to establish a healthy fund balance because of that.
What is happening here is occurring in neighboring counties as well.
The Live Oak County unemployment rate has dropped from 5.5 percent in April 2011 to 4.3 percent in April 2012. McMullen County has an area low rate of only 2.4 percent, while the Karnes County rate is closer to that of Beeville with its rate at 6.6 percent. The Refugio unemployment rate, like the rest of those in neighboring counties, is going down as well and is currently at 4.6 percent.
For those who are still looking for jobs, don’t give up. More employment opportunities are becoming available every day. Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend is here to help people as well. The company has nine Career Centers in its 12-county region, including one in Beeville and one in Refugio.
The Career Centers are a resource for people trying to get jobs. Their counselors will meet with people and try and identify their job skills and point them in the right direction, including ways to get financial aid for continuing education. The centers also offer computers with Internet, resume writing software, job search and career materials, telephones, copiers, printers and fax machines – all free of charge to people looking for jobs.
According to Monika De La Garza, communications and outreach coordinator for Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend, “From January to April, we’ve hosted 13 hiring events in the Beeville Career Center. As of May 18, we had 1,695 job postings and 2,327 job openings for the Coastal Bend region.”
Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend will continue to offer services that “result in a high-quality workforce system that ensures economic viability for the Coastal Bend community.”
The next hiring event for the area will be at the Beeville Career Center and is The Texas Department of Criminal Justice. They are looking for correctional officers for both the William G. McConnell Unit and John B. Connally Unit. The hiring event will take place in June and interested parties can check the career center website for the exact date and time.
With more companies hiring everyday look for the unemployment rates to go down again with the release of the next update on June 15.
Christina Rowland is the regional editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 119, or at regional@mySouTex.com.