01-22-07 Now is the best time to find work in Texas, according to officials at Workforce Texoma. Texas' unemployment rate is at its lowest point in five years.
The unemployment maybe good for Texoma, but it's leaving employers strained as they work harder to hire qualified employees. The unemployment rate in Texas is 4.5 percent, equal to the national average.
Papa Johns delivery is just one of the countless businesses in the market for employees. Workers at the Sherman location prepare to reopen next week, after closing in September. Once in business, managers are looking for people to get pizzas out the door.
"We're looking at hiring probably 18-22 people probably 60% drivers and 40% in store team," Bob Billman, director of operations for Papa Johns said.
Billman put ads in the newspaper, contacted Workforce Texoma, and held open houses. They have about five more positions to fill, and he plans to interview applicants on the spot to make that goal.
"We haven't had a ton of folks come in to where we've been able to sort through every application," Billman said. "We've been fortunate that the folks who have applied have been quality folks."
With unemployment at its lowest point in five years, it's been a challenge filling positions like those at Papa Johns, Workforce Texoma officials said.
"The lower paying jobs with the lower-level benefits are harder to filll," Bob Rhoden, from Workforce Texoma said. "People who are looking for jobs are looking for the better paying job positions with benefits so those people who pay less are having trouble finding workers than they used to."
In Texas, employers added nearly 16,000 jobs in December and the Papa Johns crew hopes to add a few more.
Workforce Texoma officials say they hope Texoma residents will decide to stay in the area instead of travelling to other cities for work. With current fuel costs, a person woud make more money by staying in town, even if they take a pay cut.
In the Durant area of Oklahoma, a study two years ago by the Department of Commercie says the unemployment rate in that area is about 4 percent, with 82 percent of workers with a full-time position.