Midland Unemployment Remains Below 3%

City’s labor force passes 100,000 for first time.  By Mella McEwen

Midland Sunset
Stability continues to dominate Midland’s labor market as summer progresses.


Midland’s unemployment rate inched up to 2.9 percent in July from 2.8 percent in June but is well below the 3.6 percent reported last July, the Texas Workforce Commission said Friday. Midland continues to report the state’s lowest unemployment, followed by Odessa at 3.6 percent.

For the first time, Midland’s civilian labor force crossed the 100,000 mark, with the commission putting the labor force at 100,121, up from 98,462 in June.

Midland Mayor Jerry Morales said Midlanders need to understand the city’s population is growing at a 3.5 percent to 4 percent annual rate. Normal growth rate for communities Midland’s size is 1 percent to 1.5 percent, he said.

With more than 100,000 residents at work, “we really need to work on housing, road infrastructure and annexing more land,” he said.

He said he is excited to see so many people working in the community and pleased that Midland has plentiful jobs.

“All industries are looking for all kinds of workers,” he said.

Willie Taylor, chief executive officer of Workforce Solutions Permian Basin, said there is a demand for a wide variety of jobs, from teachers to medical workers to truck drivers. The Permian Basin is “definitely” a job-seeker’s market, he said.

He said he is amazed at the continued growth, given the intense competition for workers.

“Look at the pipeline of potential workforce and work with our schools, our colleges, retired residents returning to the workforce, those recruited from the military,” Taylor said. “There’s a lot of competition and for us to grow as we have is amazing.

“Our biggest concern is making sure we have an adequate workforce.”

Job creation in Midland grew significantly, with 900 jobs being added from June to July for a 1 percent growth rate. Midland’s dominant industrial sector — mining, logging and transportation — continued to dominate job growth, adding 600 jobs from June to July for a 2.2 percent growth rate. Trade, transportation and utilities, financial activities, professional and business services and other services added 100 jobs each. The only loss was 100 jobs in leisure and hospitality. The remaining industrial sectors were unchanged.

For the 12 months between July 2013 and July 2014, Midland added  5,300 new jobs for a growth rate of 6.2 percent. Mining, logging and construction added 3,400 new jobs for a 13.9 percent growth rate. Trade, transportation and utilities added 700 new jobs during that time, followed by leisure and hospitality with 500 new jobs. The only job losses were in education and health services, down 300 jobs, and information, down 100 jobs.

Statewide, the unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, unchanged for the third consecutive month. The state added 46,600 seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs, the commission reported.

“Texas employers continue to propel the Texas economy’s expansion by adding 396,200 jobs over the last year, a 3.5 percent annual growth rate,” said Andres Alcantar, TWC chairman. “The Texas economic engine is strong, with every major industry posting positive annual growth in July.”

All major industries in Texas expanded last month, with professional and business services leading the way by adding 10,600 jobs in July.

“The professional and business services industry is thriving, with opportunities that range from legal advice and representation to security guards to landscaping,” said Commissioner Ronny Congleton. “Industries across the board are hiring, and that is good news for job seekers in Texas.”

Private employers added 42,400 jobs in July, said Commissioner Hope Andrade.

“Mining and logging posted an annual growth rate of 7.8 percent in July, which marked the 51st consecutive month of positive annual growth and underscored the industry’s role in the state’s overall economic success,” Andrade said.

While Midland had the state’s lowest unemployment, the highest was in McAllen-Edinburg-Mission at 9.9 percent.

Just The Facts:
Preliminary local jobless rates for July with June numbers in parentheses:

Midland 2.9 (2.8)

Odessa 3.6 (3.5)

Amarillo 4.1 (4.0)

Abilene 4.5 (4.4)

San Angelo 4.5 (4.3)

Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos 4.6 (4.4)

Victoria 4.6 (4.5)

College Station-Bryan 4.7 (4.6)

Lubbock 4.7 (4.5)

Longview 4.9 (4.8)

San Antonio-New Braunfels 5.2 (5.1)

Corpus Christi 5.4 (5.3)

Fort Worth-Arlington 5.4 (5.3)

Sherman-Denison 5.4 (5.3)

Dallas-Plano-Irving 5.5 (5.4)

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown 5.5 (5.4)

Tyler 5.5 (5.4)

Wichita Falls 5.6 (5.4)

Waco 5.8 (5.6)

Laredo 6.3 (6.2)

Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood 6.4 (6.2)

Texarkana 6.5 (6.3)

El Paso 7.7 (7.6)

Beaumont-Port Arthur 8.3 (7.8)

Brownsville-Harlingen 8.9 (8.8)

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission 9.9 (9.6)