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The unemployment rate in Beaumont-Port Arthur is the second highest in Texas

The unemployment rate in Beaumont-Port Arthur is the second highest in Texas

Cynthia Stephens is looking for a job at Workforce Solutions.

"I keep searching because I can get a job of passion," says Stephens.

With the unemployment rate on the rise, she's having a hard time finding one.

"If you look at what you qualify for and what you're looking for, there's not a lot of jobs unless someone gives you an honest chance," says Stephens.

Ira McNeil with Workforce Solutions says between December and January of 2017, the jobless rate increased nearly a point.

"What we're seeing is a slow trend where our unemployment rate is trending upward, not by that much, but still its creeping up and we've seen that for the past three months, its concerning."

The reason for the increase was because people were looking for holiday work.

"We had more people looking for work than we had actual jobs so our employment went up," says McNeil.

Despite the increase, there are petrochemical and construction jobs out there.

"We have a lot of projects in the pipeline," says McNeil. "We're petrochemical based, construction, a lot of maintenance being scheduled. We shouldn't see any big spikes."

The issue is finding jobs in areas that focus on customer service, including retail and restaurants.

"We had restaurants that closed and also some that's opened up," says McNeil. "Trying to keep that at an even keel is what's going to impact our labor force and unemployment from year to year."

The solution is simple, but not always easy.

"Our biggest problem is the growth if were going to have enough growth to take care of the people that are looking for work. In order to address that means companies will have to expand," says McNeil.

To help people like Cynthia Stephens, who doesn't plan to give up, no matter how long it takes.


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