Though the outlook seems bleak, the good news is that there are still some job gains in the city. September saw an increase of jobs by 4,100, mostly due to local school positions. Health service jobs are also on the increase.
The expansion of the city’s Global Alternative Fuels biodiesel plant is set to provide a handful of new jobs as well. With hope, the need for alternative fuels will increase—particularly as the public continues to demand more environmentally friendly products and a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as President Obama pushes for green jobs—and thereby create even more job spots in the future.
On the opposite spectrum, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and labor jobs such as mining, construction and logging have all taken a hard hit. Construction jobs alone took a huge loss with 1,000 jobs cut, mirroring the national pattern; 96% of construction jobs were cut in major metropolitan areas during the last year. This rendered El Paso the 59th best market for construction jobs in America.
This is a long way from the city’s rank of strongest U.S. southern economy in 1950. However, the area is still ranked as one of the strongest economies, ranked tenth in a report conducted by BusinessWeek. Compared with 40 other major cities, El Paso has better job growth, as well as more affordable home prices.
A spike in immigration numbers from Mexico is also being credited with boosting the city’s economy. These Mexican nationals, wealthy entrepreneurs leaving the country to escape the violence in Ciudad Juarez, have spawned the development of 200 new businesses.
Many of these, including night clubs, restaurants and other businesses, are good for both employment as well as generating tourism—and therefore more money—for the city. Many El Pasoans say the development is a positive one for the economy—not only for the reasons listed, but to also keep consumers from El Paso spending their entertainment money within the city rather than across the border.
A military base, Fort Bliss, is another factor in the city’s economy. The results of these developments include an apartment occupancy of 92%--higher than that of Dallas and Houston—as well as other economic gains for the city.