There is some good economic news in this story from the Standard Times. It shows we have a growing job market, ranking 10th in those cities with less than 50,000 non-farm workers. Most of the information in the story is based on an article from the bizjournals.com website. This is good news but not quite complete. Time for more of the story.
First, it appears San Angelo's job market is recovering from the losses it suffered in the late 1990's. Looking at this market report, we lost over 2000 jobs from 1998 to 1999. The current growth is good news, but it is still not as good as it looks at first glance.
If you look at the job growth in San Angelo, the bulk of it has recently been in 2 areas: Government and Natural Resources, Mining, & Construction. In 2004 we lost ground in every other area of employment. I don't expect that trend to change for a while. Some of this growth is from the increased activity in the Petroleum industry. Far too much is probably from a construction bubble as the big box stores expand into this market area. Most of the "growth" from the big-box stores is just moving business from long established local companies to out of town chains.
Another part of the story is wages. According to the BLS our mean annual wage is $27,580. This is only 80% of the Texas wage of $34,870, or 75% of the national wage of $37,020.There are other similar sized towns with wages this low, but the low wage is probably the main factor leading to our flat growth rate. Until the wages start to rise, the city won't grow. Might be time to really look at the jobs we are trying to create.
So that's the story so far. Not time to break out the champagne yet. A beer might be appropriate though.
What do you think?