Presidio County reports second highest unemployment rate in the state

PRESIDIO COUNTY — Presidio County recorded a 20.7% unemployment rate for April 2020, the second highest rate in the state of Texas, according to the Texas Labor Market Information’s Local Area Unemployment Statistics report for April 2020.

Presidio had previously had the fifth highest unemployment rate in March at 10.9%, showing the drastic drop in employment between March and April locally. Presidio has long lagged behind other counties, and was the ninth highest unemployed county a year ago, at 5.1% in April 2019.

In Texas, Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley is the only one of Texas’ 254 counties with a higher unemployment rate for April 2020, clocking in at 24.3%.

Presidio isn’t alone – Texas’ 12.8% unemployment rate is the state’s worst on record. However, Presidio’s latest numbers show that the county is being disproportionately affected by job losses. While the county has a civilian labor force of 3,025 people, a total of 627 of those residents have claimed unemployment during April alone, meaning 1 in 5 members of the workforce are hurting.

A recent report from the Workforce Solutions Borderplex stated, “Total unemployment claimants for the Borderplex region in April 2020 (3/29 to 5/2) was 39,393. This reflects an increase of more than 24,000 claimants from the previous month.”

The borderplex covers counties across Far West Texas. The WSB reported the worst hit industries were leisure and hospitality; trade, transportation and utilities; and professional and business services.

The month of March was impacted with coronavirus closures in its last week, but April bore the brunt of the pandemic’s impact. As coronavirus-related closures hit this spring, West Texas crude prices plummeted almost in lockstep, due to an international flood of product into the market. In turn, Permian Basin oil field jobs and many jobs that support the industry’s operations were lost.