CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate is about one percent short of the rate in February 2020, just before the pandemic.
Lisa Dunlap was applying for jobs on Wednesday at the Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend Center on Staples Street in Corpus Christi.
She’s been unemployed for a year and a half, and has been financially struggling after moving from Missouri and Massachusetts to Texas.
“I’m living on my last couple of checks here. It’s getting a little tense,” Dunlap said.
She said not a lot of people were hiring during the pandemic, but it’s been getting better. “I think things are opening up, so it’s probably getting easier to find a job,” she said.
Monalisa Bearden has also been unemployed for 3 years. She’s been struggling to pay rent and has had to move around.
“I filled out so many applications here and it seems like maybe because I’m retirement age, I haven’t gotten a whole lot of response,” Bearden said.
She’s doing a work training program that is offered by AARP that gives her the skills she needs to enter the workforce, and she said she is staying positive throughout the job hunt.
“I’m sure that I’ll find something. If I keep looking, I will find something,” she said.
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi professor of economics Jim Lee said the unemployment rate in the Corpus Christi area is still at 5.3 percent.
He said what’s changing about the job market, is people are retiring earlier, Generation Z is not going back to the workforce as quickly and people are trying to find jobs that pay higher because of inflation.
He said people are also looking for jobs that have a better work-life balance. Lee said for every person that is looking for a job, there are two job openings for them.
Esteban Hinojosa is a senior at TAMU-CC and is about to graduate soon.
He is a geospatial information systems major and said he got a job in San Antonio related to his field because he’s a part of a geospatial information systems club.
The club brought in employers every week and students were able to connect with them to get a job after graduation. Hinojosa said that eased the anxiety of having to look for a job after crossing the stage.
“I even have a couple of friends. They graduated many semesters ago and they are still looking for jobs, but thanks to these job career fairs and job opportunities that they give out, it helps our students go and find jobs much easier,” Hinojosa said.