Unemployment rate not backing down

Texas Workforce Solutions Cameron Executive Director Pat Hobbs said Tuesday, that the current unemployment rate in Cameron County is 11.1 percent.

The numbers are about a percentage lower than a year ago, but are currently well above the national 8.1 average and 7.1 state average.

Hobbs said there are jobs out there for the taking, but many times there are not enough qualified workers.

(The jobs available) are either management level or technician jobs, but most of the people don TMt qualify for them or they’re low paying jobs that people don TMt want, Hobbs. In some cases, the unemployment is more attractive than a low-paying, tough job.”

Hobbs said the biggest challenge in placing the approximate 162,000 people currently getting unemployment benefits, is the lack of education – especially when the majority of the top 20 careers in demand throughout the county require at least at high school education.

Workforce Solutions is reaching out to middle schools now in hopes of getting younger students set on pursuing vocational, technical or college educations to help break that cycle.

“If a child has an educational goal in his mind at an early age, it’s more likely that they are going to attain that educational goal, Hobbs said, it just makes sense, so that’s what we’re selling.”

Hobbs said job growth in Cameron County has grown along with the population, but there has not been any significant event that would cause a major impact on the economy and job market.

He adds the county could benefit from a big company coming into the area to create that change, such as a company like Space X.

“I think we would have a leg up on most areas if we had an aero space industry, Hobbs said. It’s not only the launching, but all the companies that become attracted to a launch site and all the tourist that come to visit when they shoot a rocket once a month. That would be a big boost to the economy.”