Digital Exclusive: Unemployment on the rise in Ector County


ECTOR COUNTY (YourBasin) – Amidst reopening and millions of jobs added across the country, Ector County’s unemployment rose three percent from April to May.

Wesley Burnett, from the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, states just five months ago unemployment was around three percent. Now, unemployment is sitting at 16.5%.

“Not encouraging news. Not great news. We felt things were heading in a good direction until this last spike,” says Burnett.

In a report from Wallethub Texas ranks 23 in unemployment claims recovered since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

According to The Texas Tribune, the number of Texans filing for unemployment has increased for a second week in a row.

“We would have liked for the jobless claims not go up,” states Burnett. “We were hoping by this time late summer, going into fall, we would have some encouraging news. Hopefully we still will.”

Unemployment numbers for June are expected to be out next week and though officials expect the numbers to see an uptick for June, there’s still a lot of work to do for the local economy.

“It’s just a lot to work through but no real encouraging news on the employment side as far as those numbers. They’re extremely high. They’re staying high. I don’t really see if they’re going to come down but hopefully, they don’t continue to rise,” says Burnett.

The Chamber working closely with businesses by providing them with guidance on how to remain open, changing business models and providing them resources.

“We are just trying to be as aggressive and proactive as we possibly can but there’s so much of this that we have to wait and see what happens or what someone says can or can’t do,” says Burnett.

With the Perryman Group Report released back in May, the chamber continues to utilized it to aid the local economy.

Burnett says the chamber has placed a few orders for some business to provide face masks.

“There’s no right answer. There’s not wrong answer,” states Burnett. “There’s just answers we are trying to figure out and do the right one if we can find it. Again, that changes every day. Changes almost hourly now we are just trying to accommodate what we can.”

The Chamber has partnered with Midland Chamber in rejuvenating the ‘Buy the Basin’ campaign.

The Basin continues to navigate through the pandemic. Governor Abbott scaling back on businesses occupancy and closing bars two weeks ago.

Burnett reminds citizens that it’s important to buy local, spend locally but safely as case continue to rise.

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