Unemployment Skyrockets to 14.1 Percent in Reeves County

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

MONAHANS- It's a little past 5:30 and Elodia Flores, owner of Speedy's Restaurant in Pecos can't do anything but wait. The entire dinning area is empty and it's becoming a trend.

"It makes me nervous and it makes me feel like we're failing somewhere, but I don't know what can we do?" Flores asked.

Since last year, Flores admits the dinner rush has dried up with the jobs.

"There are a few people at night and a few more at lunchtime but that's it," she explained. "I do my own cooking. I can't afford to find somebody else to do it for me."

Reeves County posted a 14.1 percent unemployment rate for August according to numbers provided by the Texas Workforce.

"When you hear five, seven percent, there are still people without jobs and 14 it's a lot," Flores said.

Other business owners like Manuele Reyes are feeling the ripple effects of a shrinking labor force.

"I would have never expected this," Reyes said many of her customers aren't eating out as often. "They don't feel that they come out and eat like they used to. They got to stay home and cut back on their spending."

Reyes is grateful her staff is now limited to just family, but they're still barely breaking even.

"I can't go out and eat in other places because I can't afford it. We just have to cut what we can and make ends meet with what little we have and just pray that things will pick up here in town," she said.

There is a bright spot, Economic Development Director Rob Tobias and County Judge Sam Contreras are in Austin this week trying to drum up support for a few large projects including a renewable energy project. Tobias said the high unemployment rate in Reeves County means the area needs to diversify and that is what they're working with state and federal partners in Austin.