by Victor Lopez
WEST TEXAS--Experts say they're creating new jobs all over the Permian Basin.
According to Willie Taylor, CEO of Workforce Solutions of the Permian Basin, "It's just a job seeker market and everybody is just trying to hang on to their employees."
Taylor and his staff aren't really seeing anything new. The unemployment rate in our area has been the lowest in the state for a while now, with Midland taking the top spot from College Station, four or five years ago.
"When you look at the Permian Basin as a region, it's a 17-county region, we're at 6.3 and say, a year ago, we were sitting at 7.6. We have actually seen the unemployment claims actually continue dropping in the area," Taylor explained.
It wasn't until recently, that the number of companies looking to hire in the Permian Basin has gone up.
According to Taylor, "We've seen a tremendous jump in the number of job postings that's come into our Workforce centers. Our Workforce board members, we meet every month, they are all basically saying they are hiring. They're busy. Most of them are saying this is just the start. We're going to get busier in, probably, April."
If you make your way down Highway 158 or Garden City Highway in Midland County, it won't take you long to find businesses that are looking for a few good hands. Workforce Solutions Permian Basin says the oil and gas industry is leading the way, not only in production, but also job opportunities.
"They represent 22% of our industry's sector. They're driving this local economy. When you see the oil prices up, your BJ's, your Halliburton's, your Slumberger's, your Basic Energy, all of those companies are hiring," Taylor said.
People are snatching up those oil field jobs as quickly as they can. While it is opening up jobs in other places, Taylor says it's more like a double edged sword, "When you look at your municipalities, your counties, your cities, you know it's hard for them to compete with the wages that are being paid in the oil field. It's kind of hard to compete."
The upward trend in jobs isn't expected to end anytime soon. That's good news for those about to graduate from high school and college.
"There are jobs, in all sectors, that are open. Skilled jobs and unskilled jobs are available. So, we encourage everyone to become a part of the workforce in the Permian Basin," Taylor said.