Midland unemployment rate lowest in the state

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 9:54 PM CDT
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - Midland and Odessa’s unemployment rates are low, a trend that shows the Permian Basin has recovered from the pandemic.

Midland has the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 2.7% but Odessa’s is at 3.7% raising the question about that 1% difference when the industries are virtually the same.

“Most economists would say anything under 5% in full employment,” said CEO of the Permian Basin Workforce Board Willie Taylor.

There is a 1% gap between Midland’s 2.7% unemployment rate and Odessa’s 3.7%, a gap that Taylor says has to do with the manufacturing, transportation and mining and construction industries.

“Midlands all mining construction is about 33% compared to Odessa mining construction’s oil and gas area is about 27% so Midland is definitely a little stronger there,” said Taylor.

Taylor projects strong growth for the oil and gas, medical, and manufacturing industries. The focus now is developing a civilian workforce population.

“The biggest concern that we have in the workforce industry is availability of job seekers which are skill sets and that is what we’ve been working with with our community colleges,” said Taylor.

The board developed a targeted occupation list with demand growth which includes education, oil and gas, IT, HVAC, truck driving etc.

Taylor believes that the gap between Midland Odessa could close but to grow would mean attracting a workforce from outside the community as well.

“I’ve been in our workforce for over 50 years and I think this is some of the strongest hiring that I’ve probably seen in my lifetime,” said Taylor.

Taylor says there’s so much turnover in our job seeker market creating competitive wages and as long as we’re competitive it will be easier to get people to come in.

He went on to add that people should take advantage of training opportunities and upgrade their skills as it’s a win-win for both their community and family.