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Unemployment in the Coastal Bend is causing high alert going into summer

16,000 Jobs in the Coastal Bend have many employers on high alert
Posted at 4:46 PM, Apr 02, 2023

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Help wanted signs can be found at many Coastal Bend hospitality businesses as they are short staffed and in desperate need of workers.

Xena Mercado is the communication manager for Workforce Solutions in the Coastal Bend and she said unemployment rates have been a problem for years.

"There have been a growing number of jobs for quite some time," she said. "So, the last unemployment rates were released on Friday, so right now we are at a 5.2 for the Coastal Bend area."

There are than 16,415 online jobs postings on across several industries within the region. Many occupations are taking a bigger hit than others like the hospitality industry.

"Health care, retail trades, hospitality and leisure, that's the biggest increase in unemployment and job openings that we have seen,” Mercado said.

According to the U.S. Census of people aged 25 and older, 27.9% of people have a high school diploma compared to 23.5% who have a bachelor's degree. Mercado believed this was a turning point for many.

"You don't need a college degree to get a good job these days. There's a lot of quick training opportunities available," she said.

Jimmy Sullivan, the general manager for Tortuga's Saltwater Grill in Port Aransas. He believed a successful career in the hospitality industry has to do with the qualities brought to the table.

"I think you can go far in the hospitality industry with professionalism, hospitality, being friendly, genuinely caring for people's needs," he said.

Sullivan said for several months, restaurants within the Coastal Bend struggled to hire people and it caused more stress on his current employees.

"Our restaurants in Port Aransas have definitely felt the impact of being understaffed,” he said. “This really puts a strain on the staff that we do have because we always strive to give the best service, the best food, but when you have such a few numbers working, people have to work extra hours."

Workforce Solutions said that leisure and hospitality jobs will only increase as we approach the summer months.

According to the Workforce Solution’s website, the industries with the greatest number of job openings in the region are Health Care and Social Assistance (2,444), Educational Services (1,573) Retail Trade (1,176), and Accommodation and Food Services (1,591).

For more information about the job openings, click here.

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