Oil Industry Helps Job Growth Hold Steady In Texas

Texas is one of the states that has actually seen job growth. Nathan Bernier of member station KUT reports on the type of jobs being created.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Thirty-three.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: One potato, egg and cheese.

NATHAN BERNIER, BYLINE: I'm Nathan Bernier in Austin, Texas, home to the state capitol and a regional dish known as the breakfast taco, plus a state unemployment rate now under 7 percent. Madison Allen has been working for the past three months here at Torchy's Tacos.

MADISON ALLEN: And kind of the nice thing about the service industry is it doesn't matter where I go, what city I move to, this is always an option.

BERNIER: It's no secret that energy is the engine that helps drives the Texas economy. But here in Austin, far from the oil and gas fields, the fastest growing employment sector has been leisure and hospitality. Some people love working in restaurants and hotels, while others, like Allen, are looking for a career change.

ALLEN: I'm lucky to be in nursing school because that will be one degree that won't cause me to be in the service industry, even after I graduate...

(LAUGHTER)

ALLEN: ...like everyone else I know, so.

BERNIER: All those friends of hers with college degrees working in the service industry? That's not necessarily the best thing for the Texas economy, according to labor economist Sandy Black at the University of Texas.

SANDY BLACK: Getting stuck out of graduation, out of college, in a lower skilled job than where you should be can have really negative long-run impacts on your career. You're not going to experience the same wage growth. You're not going to experience the same opportunities.

BERNIER: But despite the boom in minimum wage jobs across Texas, there are signs that other sectors, in addition to energy, are getting stronger. You can tell by the cranes dotting the capitol's skyline, for example, that construction is booming here, just like it is across the state. For NPR News, I'm Nathan Bernier in Austin, Texas.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.