El Paso unemployment increases, nearly at 5 percent

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Illustration by Claudia Hernandez

The study found, between February and March of this year, unemployment increased 1.2 percent, bringing the total to 4.8 percent.

Exodis Ward, Contributor

El Paso’s unemployment increased to almost 5 percent since stay-athome orders were put in place last month, according to a study done by El Paso Workforce Solutions.  

Workforce solutions accesses data for the Texas Workforce Commission for the regional information monthly to create labor reviews. These reviews analyze the unemployed-to-workforce ratio in the city and other related things like employment by sector. 

The study found that, between February and March of this year, unemployment increased 1.2 percent, bringing the total to 4.8 percent. To put that in perspective, an additional 3,237 workers fell under the unemployed category. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the last time unemployment was at this level, it was July and August of 2017 right after the state of Texas created jobs to combat rising unemployment.  

The El Paso Workforce Solutions’ Chief Executive, Leila Melendez, has never been busier at work. 

“I started this job and walked into the biggest disruption our industry has ever faced. I know how much our community needs us so much right now and I take that responsibility very seriously,” Melendez said. I’m prepared and ready to help my hometown recover economically. This crisis is stretching our industry and it is requiring us to be much faster, agile, and creative. 

Though the job market seems bleak, Melendez believes there is always room for growth, especially for citizens. 

“I believe there is a tremendous opportunity for El Pasoans to return to work stronger and better than ever. Although many of us are not working, are working from home, taking care of children and juggling many household demands at one time, those that can take advantage of the abundance of online sources should,” Melendez said. “If folks can enroll in an online, short-term course or obtain jobrelated certificates, they could position themselves to be more competitive now than they were before the pandemic. This will help them compete for an even better job they had pre-pandemic, earn a higher wage than before.” 

Here is what unemployment looked like in March 2019 and March 2020: 

 

Here are the zip codes with the most unemployment claims in El Paso: 

Exodis Ward may be reached at [email protected]