Unemployment Rate Low In The Basin, Housing Still An Issue

By Sylvia Gonzalez
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN - A low unemployment rate has people from all over the country moving into the Basin in hopes of finding a better paying job. However, there is one issue that could be keeping that rate from being even lower.

It seems that the economy in the Lone Star State is among the best it's currently 5.8 percent is unemployed. In the Basin, we boast some of the lowest unemployment numbers in the state. Odessa sits at 3.6 percent and the Tall City comes in with 3.0 percent.

Willie Taylor, Director of the Permian Basin Workforce Solutions, explained what is driving our economy.

"There is no doubt the major factor to our growth has been the oil and gas industry. You have your truck driving, expansion of the medical area, fast foods, you have your restaurants that continue to grow in all of this," Taylor said

Taylor says with Hurricane Sandy affecting the East Coast, many developers are rebuilding that part of the country, which leaves areas like the Permian Basin in desperate need of developers.

"You gotta continue to bring in developers in and put it in a fast track," Taylor said.

He says, many times he hears people wanting to come to the Basin to work they have a change of heart because of the cost of living. This is where Taylor believes we need to improve.

"We need to make sure that we continue to build for what we call affordable workforce housing, because if we don't, we will continue to drive up the wages in our region. I think we just gotta to be able to continue to build our infrastructure workforce housing and I think that's the key," Taylor said.

Taylor says if enough housing becomes available, the unemployment rate could finally drop below the 3.0 percent mark, which hasn't happened in years.

"I was telling my board that we didn't think that we would see probably below the three percent, but I think that's a strong possibility that we could see unemployment rate drop below the three percent here in the area," Taylor said.