Midland’s jobless rate drops to 3.0%


Midland’s labor market continues to rank among the state’s best with the Tall City posting the lowest unemployment rate in September.

The Texas Workforce Commission said Friday unemployment in its Midland metropolitan statistical area (MSA) – which includes Midland and Martin counties – fell to 3% from 3.3% in August and is well below the 4.9% reported last September.

Odessa saw its unemployment rate fall to 4.3% from 4.9% in August. The rate was 7% a year ago.

In fact, according to Gabriel “Mike” Guzman, manager, dissemination and outreach, labor market and career information, Odessa led the state with the largest year-over-year decrease in unemployment at 2.7 percentage points. Midland was third with a 1.9 percentage point drop.

“We’ve recovered real well” from the pandemic, which saw unemployment reach double-digits, observed Willie Taylor, chief executive officer of the commission’s Workforce Solutions Permian Basin office. In September 2019, he observed, Midland’s unemployment rate was 2.1%.

Speaking with the Reporter-Telegram by telephone, Taylor noted that the civilian labor force remains strong, rising to 103,969 from 103,592 in August. It is almost 1,100 more than the 102,887 reported a year earlier. The number of employed Midlanders jumped by 700 to 100,845 and is almost 3,000 more than the 97,867 employed last September.

“What’s not letting us grow any more is the inability to hire more people,” Taylor said, acknowledging that is an issue being felt nationwide. It can take two to three months to fill a job posted with the commission, he said. “We’ve been in a job-seeker’s market for some time.”

Initial claims for unemployment benefits are also down, he said. The commission said the number of unemployed Midlanders fell more than 300 to 3,124 from 3,446 in August. That number has fallen by almost 1,900 from last September’s count of 5,020 unemployed.

He estimated there are more than 300 enrolled in training programs at Midland College, Odessa College and Howard County Junior College, receiving training in everything from commercial drivers’ licenses to education, HVAC technology, automotive and diesel technology and electric linemen. His office is also working with Midland Memorial Hospital, Medical Center Hospital and other hospitals in the region on skills development.

“People in CDL, medical training have an 85% placement rate. They get good wages, have good skills. You can’t go wrong with training,” he said.

Things are looking great going into the final quarter of the year, he said.

“It’s a great job picture, a great market,” Taylor said.

Julian Alvarez, Texas Workforce commissioner representing labor, said in a virtual media briefing alongside Guzman that child care has been a concern in attracting workers back to the labor market. He said that with the latest tranche of federal funding, the commission has been able to inform employers looking to expand in or locate to Texas they now have the funding to provide childcare services on their premises.

Taylor emphasized that his Permian Basin office also has funding to help those seeking to find jobs or return to work with childcare expenses.

Midland added 900 jobs from August to September, led by the Mining, Logging and Construction sector with 500 new jobs. This sector, dominant in the Midland MSA, had wages totaling $1.017 billion in the first quarter of the year.

The Government sector followed with 200 new jobs. The Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector, Education and Health Services sector and Leisure and Hospitality sector each added 100 jobs. Manufacturing was the only sector to lose jobs, falling by 100 jobs during the month.

For the 12 months from September 2021 to September 2022, Midland added 4,800 jobs for a growth rate of 4.7%. Mining, Logging and Construction again led with the addition of 2,900 jobs. Leisure and Hospitality followed with the creation of 900 new jobs. Trade, Transportation and Utilities added 400 jobs while Manufacturing and the Education and Health Services sector each grew by 200 jobs. The Financial Activities, the Professional and Business Services and the Other Services sector each added 100 jobs. The Government sector was the only one to lose jobs during the year, shedding 100 jobs.

Statewide, the unemployment rate fell to 3.8% from 4.2%. Texas added 40,000 nonfarm jobs in September, more than doubling the number added in August. The state also set new employment highs for an 11th consecutive month with total nonfarm employment reaching 13,571,800 jobs. Texas has added 721,800 jobs since September 2021.

Amarillo and Austin-Round Rock remained tied for lowest employment statewide for a second month at 2.8% each, followed by Midland with 3% and College Station-Bryan and Lubbock at 3.1% each. The highest unemployment was McAllen-Edinburg-Mission at 6.7%.


Midland Unemployment

In September

September 2022: 3%

September 2021: 4.9%

This year

January 4.4%

February 4.3%

March 3.5%

April 3.2%

May 3.3%

June 3.6%

July 3.5%

August 3.3%

September 3.0%


Preliminary numbers for September with August numbers in parentheses:

Amarillo 2.8 (3.0)

Austin-Round Rock 2.8 (3.0)

Midland 3.0 (3.3)

College Station-Bryan 3.1 (3.5)

Lubbock 3.1 (3.5)

Abilene 3.2 (3.5)

San Angelo 3.3 (3.5)

Dallas-Plano-Irving 3.4 (3.6)

Sherman-Denison 3.4 (3.6)

Waco 3.4 (3.7)

Fort Worth-Arlington 3.5 (3.8)

San Antonio-New Braunfels 3.5 (3.8)

Tyler 3.5 (3.8)

Wichita Falls 3.5 (4.0)

Laredo 3.8 (4.1)

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 4.2 (4.6)

Killeen-Temple 4.2 (4.6)

Victoria 4.2 (4.6)

Longview 4.3 (4.7)

Odessa 4.3 (4.9)

Texarkana 4.3 (4.5)

El Paso 4.4 (4.6)

Corpus Christi 5.0 (5.5)

Brownsville-Harlingen 5.8 (6.4)

Beaumont-Port Arthur 6.3 (7.1)

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission 6.7 (7.6)

Source: Texas Workforce Commission



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