EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The El Paso economy continues to grow as residents are finding job opportunities throughout the region but unemployment rates remain behind Texas and the rest of the country, according to figures from the Dallas Federal Reserve.
Unemployment remains 3.3 percent down compared to pre-pandemic levels reported in February 2020, according to the federal reserve’s El Paso branch. The latest figures show, employment grew in April by 538 jobs, a 2.1 percent annualized growth.
Federal reserve figures show the unemployment rate in El Paso fell from 7.3 percent to 6.9 percent. But the Texas rate is at 6.1 percent and the national rate is 5.8 percent.
Much of the local economy’s gains can be attributed to the leisure and hospitality sector , which grew the most among other labor markets. Those numbers were followed by professional and business services, construction and mining jobs.
Sectors that experienced job losses included trade, transportation, utilities, services and government. Figures show government sector jobs shrunk by 3,383 jobs.
Available data indicates El Paso retail sails soared to $3.27 billion in the third quarter of fiscal year 2020, a 1.9 percent increase from the year before, despite pandemic-related challenges.
Federal Reserve research claims several factors may be the reason retail shopping continued to grow last year. The federal issuing of stimulus money, consumers spent less on services and more on goods, and the accessibility of e-commerce.
Though international bridges have remained generally closed to non-essential traffic, retail sales remained on-par with previous years. The data also show retail has grown or remain steady since 2017 despite erosion in the Mexican currency.
Trade traffic on international bridges continues to improve but levels are still less than a third of pre-pandemic levels. With COVID-19 emergency responses in Ciudad Juárez, imports have been limited to El Paso. And, semiconductor shortages have had a negative impact on technologic and auto-related imports.
In total, exports grew by 4.1 percent and imports fell by 4.7 percent, according to figures from the Federal Reserve.