By TODD GLASSCOCK
Wednesday morning Tracy Porter sat in front of a computer searching for jobs, as her boyfriend, Keith Foster stood behind her helping her fill in the blanks of an online application form.
This was the first time for both to visit the Workforce Solutions of North Central Texas’ Mobile Workforce Unit parked outside the Boyce Ditto Public Library.
Porter, of Mineral Wells, though employed with a housekeeping service, was looking for extra work: at the moment, the service she works for has more people than jobs available. Foster, of Mineral Wells, has been looking for work in either construction, welding or painting for about a month and a half.
Since March of last year, Palo Pinto County has dipped from an 6.2 percent unemployment rate to 5.2 percent in March 2014 with more than 13,000 employed within the county, according to statistics gathered by Workforce Solutions. Palo Pinto’s unemployment rate is slightly lower than the 5.3 percent rate of the 14-county area North Central Texas Workforce Solutions covers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas’ unemployment rate is 5.5 percent for March 2014, a drop of 1 percent from last year at this time. And recent labor market reports have shown that the national unemployment rate is at 6.3 percent, and that 288,000 new jobs had been added across the nation.
While statewide and national labor market statistics seem positive, these statistics don’t discount the difficulty some like Foster are having finding jobs. Foster is among the more than 700 active job seekers in Palo Pinto County currently without work.
“It’s hard,” Foster said of his job search. Though construction in Texas has been booming for some time now, Foster said he believes finding a job in the industry can be tough locally “if you don’t know somebody.”
Finding jobs is also tough without resources to do so, he said, adding that learning of Workforce Solution’s mobile unit may prove to be invaluable in his job hunt.