While there has been a drop in the state’s unemployment rate over the past two years, employers are still finding it difficult to not only keep current workers, but also hire new employees.
Over at Station One in Harlingen, General Manager Omar Trevino has been looking to fill three positions for the past month.
It’s a stark difference to what he was dealing with a year ago.
“Back then it was a lot harder to get people in, now I’m getting phone calls all the time,” Trevino said.
Trevino says it has been a revolving door with new hires, as many are leaving their positions for higher paying jobs.
At one point, Trevino said he was looking to hire a full staff. 2023 is looking more promising.
“I feel like everybody is getting ready to get back out there and get back to work. It’s been a lot easier,” Trevino said.
While things are looking up for Trevino, other employers aren’t having as much luck.
The retail, hospitality, and health care industries are still struggling to bounce back from pandemic related losses.
“Everywhere you drive you see the signs, ‘we’re hiring, we’re hiring ,we’re hiring, we’re hiring,’ and you can see the wage creeping up even at the retail stores and the fast food places,” Cameron County Workforce Solutions Executive Director Patt Hobbs said.
Hobbs says changes are being made to attract employees.
“The employers are waking up to the fact that they have to treat their employees better and if they want to operate here competitively, they’re going to have to pay higher wages,” Hobbs said.
The average wage in Cameron County in 2021 was $18.87, up more than a dollar from 2020.
Although it is an increase, Hobbs says jobseekers are becoming more selective with their choices.
“They know they got a skill set that that employer needs and wants, and so they’re asking for what’s the wage, what’s the incentive package, what’s the benefit package,” Hobbs said.
In Cameron County, the unemployment rate from January to November 2022 stood at 6.4 percent, a drop from 2021 which was at 8.2 percent.