Unemployment Rate in Cameron County Keeps Climbing

POSTED: Friday, July 22, 2011 - 11:50am

UPDATED: Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 1:45pm

In just one month the unemployment rate in Cameron County has gone up by 1%. In May, it was 11.8% and last month, that unemployment rate went up to 12.9%, and there is a reason why the rate keeps going up in our region.

"It's a factor of either probably a combination: not enough jobs available, the economy is not growing and a large population of young workers seeking employment."

Pat Hobbs is the Executive Director for Workforce Solutions in Cameron County. He says during the summer months, the unemployment rate seems to be higher because high school students are on vacation and often take the part time jobs, leaving those who are already unemployed on the same boat. But other factors also have a huge role on this rate creeping up.

"A lot of the companies have moved over the years to Mexico, or China, or India or wherever and until they start coming back and utilizing our inexpensive labor, we're going to be in sad shape."

Another problem we come across in the Valley is the amount of people who aren't highly educated. Hobbs says many companies are looking for those who have a decent amount of higher level of education and who speak English.

"we have a giant workforce in the Valley but the majority of the workers in the labor force don't have a high school diploma."

Workforce Solutions do have ways to help those who don't meet the education requirements but Hobbs says it is a lengthy process.

"We have programs that short term training. We have programs, depending on how you test and qualify and so forth, called individual training agreements where we actually put you in college and pay for that for two years."

In June of 2010, the unemployment rate in Cameron County was at an 11.4%, nearly two percents lower than this year. Statewide, the rate has only gone up by .4% in one year.

"It's going to be a long term solution."