Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
County's unemployment below 10 percent,
but workforce, jobs both fall in November
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 24, 2003 -- Reeves County's unemployment rate
dropped below 10 percent in November, for the first time in the 18
months since the closing of the Anchor Foods plant in Pecos. But the
decline in the jobless rate was due to a drop in the number of people
living in the county, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.
The TWC released their jobless numbers last week, which showed there
were a total of 5,048 people in the county's workforce last month, and
4,552 jobs, leaving the unemployment rate at 9.8 percent. That's the
lowest since April of 2002, when unemployment in the county was at 7.9
That was also the last month the Anchor Foods plant was in full
operation. McCain Foods, which had bought the company nine months
earlier, announced in November of 2001 that it would shut the plant and
move its onion ring processing operations to Nebraska. A total of 700
people lost their jobs with the closure, and the unemployment rate in
the county went as high as 23.1 percent in August of 2002.
Anchor's facility was purchased later in 2002 by TransPecos Foods,
which reopened the plant, but with a much lower staffing level than at
the time of the McCain closure at the end of May last year.
According to the TWC's numbers, when the jobless rate in April of
2002 was at 7.9 percent, the county's workforce stood at 6,933 people,
with 6,388 jobs. In November of 2001, when McCain announced it planned
to close the plant, Reeves County had a 7.2 percent jobless rate, with
6,375 people in the labor force and 5,918 with jobs.
The numbers show a two-year drop of 1,340 people in the county's
workforce, and a loss of 1,366 jobs during from November of 2001 to
November of this year.
The 5,048 people in the county's labor force is the low total for
the year, according to the TWC's numbers. The jobless rate was at its
highest back in January, at 14.3 percent, when Reeves County had 6,154
workers and 5,276 jobs. The county's largest numbers both in total
number of workers and total number of jobs occurred in April, when
unemployment was at 11 percent.
Joblessness across the Permian Basin was mostly lower in November,
while statewide, the TWC said unemployment held at October's 6.1
percent level, matching the low for all of 2003.
In the area, Pecos County's jobless rate was at 5.1 percent, with
6,438 people in the county's workforce and 6,112 with jobs. Ward
County's jobless rate this month was 7.3 percent, with 3,327 people in
the local labor force and 3,083 with jobs, while Winkler County rate
for November was 6.8 percent, with 2,973 people in the labor force and
2,770 with jobs. Pecos County's jobless rate was up from 4.8 percent in
October, while Ward County declined from 7.4 percent and Winkler County
also was down from 7.4 percent in October.
For the area's two largest counties, Ector County had a November
unemployment rate of 6.1 percent, while Midland County's jobless rate
was at 4 percent last month, the TWC said. Both numbers were down
slightly from October.
Presidio County continued to have the state's highest unemployment
rate, but that total dropped below 20 percent for the first time in six
months. The county had a jobless rate of 19.8 percent in October, after
hitting a high of 27.2 percent in August. Loving County, the nation's
least-populated county, had an 8.9 percent unemployment rate last
month. The county reported five people unemployed for the 10th time in
the past 11 months, but the number of workers in the county declined
from 57 to 56, according to the TWC's numbers.
Offices, businesses prepare to close for Christmas
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 24, 2003 -- Almost all local businesses, government
offices and courthouses will be closed Thursday to observe Christmas
Town of Pecos City will close both tomorrow and Friday and re-open
their doors on Monday. Also taking a four-day holiday for Christmas
will be federal workers at the Lucius Bunton Federal Courthouse and
county workers at the Reeves County Courthouse.
The Pecos Post Office will be closed tomorrow and no mail will be
delivered at home or in boxes. Mail delivery will resume Friday and
Offices that will remain open include the Reeves County Sheriff's
Department office downtown and the Pecos Police Department and Texas
Department of Public Safety offices on Raul Florez Boulevard.
Security State Bank closed at noon today, be closed on Christmas and
will reopen from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Friday. West Texas National
Bank will closed at 12:30 p.m. today and will be closed tomorrow before
reopening for regular hours on Friday.
Both local grocery stores, Bob's Thriftway and La Tienda will close
at 7 p.m. tonight, and will be closed all Christmas Day.
Local convenience stores, however, will remain open for all or part
of Christmas Day. Allsup's will remain open 24 hours, Kwik Stop on
Third Street will be open all day tomorrow and Town and Country will be
open their regular hours from 6 a.m. until 12 a.m. Uncle's will close
this evening at 7 p.m. and will reopen at 12:30 p.m. Christmas Day.
Radio Shack will be open all day Thursday for those last minute
"gadgets" and batteries for toys and appliances.
The Pecos Enterprise will close at 4 p.m., today and be closed for
Christmas. The Enterprise will publish their next edition on Friday and
will again close at 4 p.m.
Christmas dinner will be served at civic center
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 24, 2003 -- In a story in Tuesday's Enterprise,
volunteers for the Pecos Christian Home's annual Christmas dinner were
incorrectly told to meet at the Christian home to assist with the
event. The meal will be served at the Reeves County Civic Center, and
that is where any volunteers who would like to help, need to be at 8
a.m. on Thursday.
Methodist Church sets Pecos, Toyah services
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 24, 2003 -- First United Methodist Church will
hold Christmas Eve services tonight, with candlelight and communion in
Pecos at 7 p.m. and in Toyah at 9 p.m.
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 24, 2003 -- High Tuesday 65. Low this morning 27.
Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows near 35. South winds 10 to 15
mph. Christmas Day: Partly cloudy. Highs near 75. Southwest winds 10 to
15 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 40. Southwest winds 10
to 15 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s. West winds 15
to 25 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 40. Saturday: Partly
cloudy. Windy. Highs in the lower to mid 60s. Saturday night: Partly
cloudy. Lows in the lower to mid 30s.
Donny Culwell, Billy Jack Evans and Rosa Arenivas
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2003 by Pecos Enterprise