Technology Could Be Why Corpus Christi’s Unemployment Is Still At 4.5%
Corpus Christi—The Corpus Christi area is still struggling in terms of job creation, according to the Monthly Texas Labor Market Report issued for the month of July. Even with the announcement and promise of jobs on the horizon, the local unemployment rate was at 4.5% compared to the rest of the state and that number has some investors concerned.
While many locals are starting to see the area and all of its potential, investors are still not there, says Marco Alvarez of Runyon and Associates, a Dallas based municipal municipal consulting firm.
“It’s going to take time to rebuild the economy,” says Alvarez. “Sadly, these jobs that are being promised will likely not be from the local workforce and that’s really sad.”
Alvarez points to the fact that as these companies create jobs, they will be bringing labor with them from elsewhere and in fact, companies such as Exxon have already begun recruiting in markets such as Houston and New Orleans.
“We are talking about jobs that require skill sets that reflect the nature of their business and companies are recruiting in markets that are saturated with them,” says Alvarez.
Dr. Jim Lee, an economist at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has elaborated on this fact for some time now and his concerns are being realized that area leaders must do more to ensure that these companies are hiring locally.
Part of that reason is many believe is technology.
“Corpus Christi seems to be struggling with the technology curve,” says Lisa Maru of Austin based Indeed. “It is easier for companies to recruit talent from further away and in an area where you still see plenty of handshake recruiting attempts, that poses a real problem.”
Maru says that the larger the company the more they embrace technology and when it comes to skilled trades, companies are learning that it’s just easier to recruit from afar than it is to just work on a handshake.
“You see places such as Killeen and Texarkana really going crazy and the technology curve is part of why that is,” says Maru. “Corpus Christi is just not there yet.”
Corpus Christi still comes in ranked at number 20 overall in the state for unemployment and while many are hoping to see that number improve as companies such as Steel Dynamics rolls into the region, the policy wonks and analysts are still not holding their breath.
“Corpus Christi has a very long way to go but it is getting there,” says Maru. And while it does seem to be coming around, it isn’t getting here fast enough for some market watchers.