Economy

Central Texas Economy Growing in Spite of Worker Shortages

WACO, Texas — The latest unemployment numbers show fewer people filed for unemployment in Texas than at this time last year.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, as of Sept. 4, another 21,500 people have filed unemployment claims.

A year ago, more than 66,000 people filed claims in the first week of September.

1,700 of the people who filed from July to August of this year are right here in Central Texas.

The top industries impacted in our area include restaurants, temporary help services, schools and telemarketing.

Despite the labor shortage, the Central Texas economy kept on growing ever since the pandemic hit, but many employers are still struggling to find help.

Restaurants like L&L Hawaiian BBQ in Waco are facing an uphill battle.

Most L&L’s are open 7 days a week, but its Waco location had to cut down to just 6 days a week.

“We just don’t have the staff,” Franchisee Ray Garrison told 25 News.

The restaurant is in a prime location, attracting tourists from the Silos. But being short-staffed all year long is keeping him on his toes and he’s not alone.

“It’s a double-edged sword because in Central Texas we take growth for granted sometimes,” Charley Ayres with Workforce Solutions of Central Texas explained.

Ayres tells us the area saw 8,000 jobs added in August alone.

“Even with folks going back to work, there are literally just more jobs than there are people,” Ayres said.

Central Texas is growing by leaps and bounds as more families move into the area.

“There are still new homes being built,” Ayres said. “There are at least three school districts that are talking about new school bonds for new schools because of the growth.”

Workforce Solutions of Central Texas predicts the growth will lead to more retailers and restaurants setting up shop.

Whether they will be able to fill jobs remains to be seen.

If you are looking for work contact the Workforce Solutions office near you and they will be able to steer you in the right direction.

Written by Joey Horta

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