Local jobs picture improves but still faces hurdles – Times Record News

by | Jun 19, 2022 | Jobs

The employment picture in Wichita Falls shows signs of improvement, but still faces challenges.The unemployment rate in the Wichita Falls metro in April – the most recent figure available – was 3.4 percent. That’s the lowest rate since the jobless numbers spiked at 10 percent in April 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s better than the Texas statewide figure of 4.3 percent.“We are seeing more people in the labor force. The unemployment rate is down, so we know people are going back to work,” said Kendra Ball, Business and Outreach Manager for Workforce Solutions North Texas.Ball said the number of people in the labor force is greater now than before the pandemic.“We’re headed in the right direction,” she said.After months of not having enough workers to fill jobs, Ball said her agency is seeing some improvements across the board in job sectors.Tandy Kimbro of Express Employment said the number of people looking for jobs is up, but conditions vary by job sector with manufacturing improving but trades still having trouble attracting carpenters, plumbers and electricians.“The people that have the experience and are trained are already working,” she said.Ball said she is seeing change in the types of jobs that are opening up.“You have grocery deliverers and personal shoppers. You have curbside. Things just look a little bit different out there,” she said.Kimbro said the number of people looking for jobs has increased but wages are a sticking point.“Somebody that a year ago would have worked for $11 an hour is now coming in and saying, ‘I’ve got to work for $13 or I’m not going to work at all,’” she said.She said the pay her clients receive has increased an average of $2.97 per hour across the board from a year ago.Ball said Workforce …

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