SAN ANTONIO – Across the country and across Texas, the economic impact of the pandemic can still be felt. While some job sectors are returning to pre-pandemic levels, there are still main industries looking for people to work.
The CEO of Workforce Solutions Alamo, Adrian Lopez, joined Leading SA on Sunday to talk about the job market and what comes next.
“Things continue to improve. We’re moving in the right direction. If we took a note back from April and March of last year, we were about 14% unemployment. Today, we’re at about 5%, 5.5% unemployment, not exactly a pre-pandemic levels, but we’re moving in the right direction,” Lopez said.
This past year has been tough, but Lopez said people are slowly getting back to work.
“What we saw last year over the course of the last 13, 14 months was about 332,000 people that lost their jobs. The good news is about half of them, or about 50% of them, have actually come back to work,” Lopez said.
But, the recovery is not equal across the board as each industry has different circumstances.
“There are industries that are starting to see some light. Know if we take, for example, the hardest-hit industries like food and accommodation services, about 50% of those folks actually have come back to work. We’re still not where we need to be, and we do understand that employers are still struggling and that’s why we’re working hand in hand with them. But we’re starting to see some really good indicators of people coming back to work,” Lopez said.
Lopez said San Antonio appears much better off than other parts of the country.
“I think one of the things that we look at today’s market and we look at the civilian force, we actually grew by about 60,000 people from last year’s numbers to this year’s numbers. So that’s a good indicator because in other parts of the country, you see that actually the civilian labor force is actually being reduced. So that’s a really good indicator for this particular region,” Lopez said.
Governor Abbott opted Texas out of the enhanced federal unemployment benefits going forward, and that could prompt more people to get back to work.
“Now, what’s going to happen in relation to unemployment benefits ending for some of the folks and these are largely folks that were self-employed and had sort of, you know, probably weren’t eligible for regular unemployment. Right. Those folks are probably going to be much more engaged in the next couple of weeks because their federal benefits that were extended to them ended as of yesterday (Saturday),” Lopez said.
Lopez added if you are looking for a job, you can likely find one, and he has a cautiously optimistic outlook going forward.
“You know, we have a really, really great outlook here in San Antonio in this particular region. Many of our great leaders in the political world, we’re actually still securing some major, major employers to come to this region. So we’re going to continue to see some really great improvements,” Lopez said.
You can watch the full interview with Lopez in the video player above.