National unemployment rates are falling and the South Plains is still below the national average.
The Labor Department reports that employers added 200,000 jobs last month nationwide, while unemployment fell to 8.5 percent. That's the lowest level in three years. Statewide we are at 8.1 percent. Unemployment on the South Plains is 5.5 percent.
Workforce Solutions of the South Plains was recognized Friday for helping keep those unemployment numbers low. The Texas Workforce Commission awarded them $25,000 to help defer the cost of child care expenditures. Chairman Tom Pauken presented the check at their Lubbock office Friday morning.
Workforce Solutions of the South Plains Chair Tresa West says they help families with child care costs to keep them working. The money they received will help fund that.
"When you consider a family that has two children in child care and they are making $8 an hour, they are not going to be able to pay for those two children," West said.
American Cotton Growers was also honored Friday as the Workforce Solutions Employer of the Year for 2011. ACG employs 600 people around the South Plains at their mill in Littlefield. Bryan Gregory, vice president of textile manufacturing for Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, says they are one of five denim mills in the U.S. He says their work is vital to keeping the economy going in the South Plains.
"For every manufacturing job, it supports anywhere from three to seven other jobs somewhere in the supply chain," Gregory said.
Although things are improving, the economy still has 6 million fewer jobs than in December 2007 when the recession began.
If you would like more information on job opportunities on the South Plains go to www.spworkforce.org.
Copyright 2012 KCBD NewsChannel 11