EL PASO, Texas - After teaming up to survey 18,000 employers around the country, Forbes Magazine has named El Paso as one of its top five cities for 'finding a job this spring.'
The survey's results weren't too surprising for Kaitlyn Urenda. "There's a lot of businesses opening up in little shopping centers like this," she said.
Urenda is helping her aunt open a baseball-themed East side restaurant named "Xtra Innings." She said they had no trouble filling up staff positions.
"We got a ton of calls," she said. "There are actually a lot of military families looking for jobs."
Mayor John Cook said El Paso's ranking as the number four best city to find a job in the next few months has a lot to do with Fort Bliss's expansion. "The impact of 34,000 soldiers and their families is gonna be significant for the El Paso economy. This is an opportunity for us," Mayor Cook told ABC-7.
It's also an opportunity to turn the city's unemployment rate around. El Paso's current rate is higher than both the national and state average according to the latest numbers released by the Texas Workforce Commission. According to a January 2011 study, El Paso's jobless rate is 10.4%. The rate is 8.5% for the state of Texas and 9.8% for the entire country.
"One of the challenges I think we all have to face is despite that we do have a very well-trained, well-educated work force, we also have a lot of people in this community that are not educated," said the mayor. "We have a very high dropout rate. That's going to impact us in the future."
However Mayor Cook added the future still looks bright, thanks in part to El Paso's business relationship with Mexican maquilas.
"The maquila market is really making a comeback. For every 10 jobs that we create in Mexico, we create another job on this side of the border somewhere in the supply (sector)," he said.
Fixing El Paso's unemployment rate is a tough task that's still under construction, but the mayor said the new Forbes magazine ranking is another step in the right direction.
"The list of accolades goes on and on for us. We're no longer known as the fattest, sweatiest, most illiterate city," said Mayor Cook.
The Top 5 is as follows:
1. Lexington-Fayette, KY
2. (tie) Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, SC
2. (tie) Tulsa, OK
4. (tie) Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
4. (tie) El Paso, TX
To read the Forbes article click here