Double Digit unemployment remains a problem across the Coastal Bend as businesses remain cautious about making new hires

A monthly report released by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi shows that Corpus Christi’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 stalled in November but the housing market remained solid. 

The monthly report says that foot traffic and sales at local stores and restaurants stayed mostly flat during the month before Thanksgiving and that has created some workforce related issues as a strong resurgence in coronavirus cases and flat sales activity have led employers to be cautious of hiring back their workforce. 

The report also noted that the regional unemployment rate returned to a double-digit level at 10 percent in November, compared to 8.3 percent in October. The increase in local unemployment came with about 2,000 individuals returning to the workforce. While many area businesses did not hire or in fact laid off workers through the period, the transportation and trades sector added around 500 jobs ahead of the holiday season.

Regionwide the unemployment rate remained the highest in Duval and Jim Wells counties where the number of unemployed workers was nearing the 15% mark. Brooks, Bee and San Patricio counties also remained high in the unemployment area at over 12%. Nueces county came in just below the regional 10% number but was hovering just less than a percentage point under double digits. 

Around 20,200 people were still unemployed in November compared to just over 8,000 unemployed residents across the 3 county statistical region. Statewide over a million people remain unemployed as result of the pandemic, that is about 8.6%. 

Looking at the area housing market, the report says that despite a volatile economy and uncertain outlooks, the local housing market remained solid in November. Strong housing demand and lagging new home construction together have pushed the average annual home price appreciation over 20 percent by year-end, as the inventory volume available for sales has dipped to two and a half months.The average sales price rose 26.41% year-year from $235,749 to $298,008, while the average price per square foot subsequently rose from $134.75 to $159.93. The average amount of time that a home spends on the market is also lower, on average, this year compared to last year. Homes are lasting about 110 days compared to 128 days at the same time last year.

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