by Victor Lopez
PERMIAN BASIN--While the Nation faces it's worst unemployment numbers in sixteen years, things are looking up in West Texas, even for those who have gotten their walking papers.
According to Willie Taylor, CEO of Workforce Solutions Permian Basin, "Nationwide the unemployment is 6.5 and some are projecting it could go as high as 7.5 or 8%. "
That's a hard pill to swallow for the labor market. But it's quite different picture for Midland and Odessa. Taylor explains, "The Permian Basin, of course, still has two of the lowest unemployments in the state of Texas. Midland went from 3.2 to 3.1 and Odessa went from 3.8 to 3.7%."
With a difference of almost fifty percent, you might ask yourself, why are we doing so much better than the rest of the nation?
"When you look at, across the United States, one of the industry sectors that's the driving force of a lot of the unemployment is your manufacturing area. When you look at the Midland-Odessa area, manufacturing only represents, maybe 7 % total," Taylor said.
While the Permian Basin is seeing some job cuts also, it's something typical for this time of year. But, as Taylor says, there's one thing that separates us from everyone else, job creation in a steady market, "When you talk about some of the things that's going on up North, there's no job creation. When you have no job creation, the folks turn to unemployment benefit claims, just for survival."
When asked what would be the worst case scenario for us, Taylor replied, "If we got as high as 5%, I would probably be surprised. But you never know."
Taylor says it's still a great time to live and work in the Permian Basin. He encourages people who have been laid off to go to their local workforce center and apply for new jobs since there are plenty of them out there.