The city’s latest unemployment figure is out, and there appears to be some good news amid still struggling businesses as a result of the pandemic’s economic effects.
According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the Laredo MSA fell to 4.8 percent in December. According to numbers issued on Friday, Jan. 21, this indicates a 0.2 percent decline from the 5% reported in November.
The drop is extended throughout the region supported and served by the local Texas Workforce office.
According to such statistics, the three-county Workforce Solutions for South Texas area of Jim Hogg, Webb, and Zapata counties had a seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 5% in December, down 0.3 percent from November’s figure of 5.3 percent.
“We expected the unemployment rate to continue to fall in December,” stated Rogelio Trevino, Executive Director of WSST. “From November to December, we’ve always seen a little uptick in the number of individuals working as firms bring on additional labor to help meet the increased demand over the holiday season.”
In December, the unemployment rate in South Texas was 5%, which meant there were 6,173 people looking for work. According to the same survey, the total reported Civilian Labor Force was 123,486, implying that 117,313 persons are employed.
The numbers appear to be improving across the state, with the state of Texas reporting a 4.3 percent unemployment rate, which is 0.5 percent lower than the local rate. According to TWC’s data, the national unemployment rate is 3.7 percent, which is far over Laredo’s by more than a percentage point.
Ricardo Cruz, a local, says he’s still having trouble getting work in the oil and gas industry. He expresses concern that hiring may be on the rise, but not for all of the positions he desires.
“Even though I applied for several jobs that I am familiar with, I have yet to receive a call back, as they are searching for certain persons with more experience or not all of the jobs are ready to hire fully aware that their workers may become ill,” Cruz explained. “Even though there is a lot of hiring going on, it will take some time until we all find the positions we want.”
Cruz hopes that positions like his will once again be regarded necessary for him to return, since he believes that any other career will not give him with the same level of income and benefits.
Surprisingly, many firms are still hiring as they assist wanted showcase signs showing a need for people, despite the fact that many claim to be experiencing staffing shortages. Essential jobs are still the most popular, with more people being hired into these new professions.
The leisure and hospitality sector saw a 9.6% increase in employment, followed by other services at 4.4 percent, the information industry at 3.8 percent, natural resources and mining at 2.1 percent, education and health care at 2.1 percent, trade, transportation, and utilities at 31 percent, manufacturing at 0.9 percent, and public administration at 0.2 percent, according to the report.
Miguel Cervantes, a local who was recently hired to work at a warehouse, claims that he was hired on the spot the day he applied and that he was told that if he notified other people he knew who have employment in the region, they would be readily hired.
“I’ve been working there for about two weeks and can tell you that they need more employees and are hiring,” Cervantes said. “Many people get sick or are still frightened to work outside of the house all the time if they have a sick person in their family.” “Although this was not the best job I was hoping for, it is a good job that demonstrates the importance of warehouse workers and the need for more to help meet the needs and resources to keep the port area running.” I hope we can keep recruiting people since many people need work but want to know they won’t be affected.”
Cervantes claims that his workplace has played a key role in preventing COVID-19 infections — which he claims is the leading cause of individuals missing work or quitting — by holding weekly vaccine drives and requiring mandatory testing. He believes that this is the greatest method to keep employment numbers stable.
Construction, financial activities, and professional and business services were among the industries that reported losses, according to the same survey.
“It’s encouraging to see job growth in critical jobs and service industry jobs,” Trevino added. “These were the industries that were hardest hit by the pandemic, and it’s expected that job openings in those fields would gradually fill up again.” Workforce Solutions for South Texas is ready to help job seekers and companies connect in order to fill open positions.”
According to the local Texas Workforce Solutions office, activities will be offered shortly so that people can continue to get the occupations they want, as jobs are plentiful due to the increase in COVID-19 cases.