Jan 27 , 2021
With a labor force encompassing a 19-county region, your Chamber and Industrial Foundation team, in partnership with the Development Corporation of Abilene, want to ensure we’re representing the collective interests of our local employers by helping to serve as a bridge between the education and talent needs of our Abilene business community. Starting every other week, our team is pleased to introduce to you a twist on our Daily Business Brief - Workforce Wednesday. We’ll be highlighting workforce data, local job opportunities, training resources and more to help provide you with more tools for your team to succeed.
For questions about Workforce Wednesday, please reach out to our Director of Talent and Development, Marissa Ransted

Our partners at Texas Workforce Commission provides a monthly compilation of selected economic data including industry composition, current employment statistics by industry, and unemployment information for Texas’ metropolitan areas.

The Abilene Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is comprised of Taylor, Jones, and Callahan counties.

There are approximately 79,019 available civilian labor force individuals in the December 2020 monthly reporting period. The unemployment rate saw a decrease from November 2020 to December 2020 by .6% equalling 419 individuals gaining employment during the month of December 2020. Abilene MSA unemployment rate comes in 1.7% under the current Texas Unemployment Rate of 7.1%
As we approach the end of the month, it’s worth checking in on the job situation. We will get the January jobs report next Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In December, the economy lost 140,000 jobs. The weekly unemployment claims data from the Department of Labor gives us an indication of what we might see in that January report.

By the numbers: The initial claims data have been concerning of late. Initial claims had dipped to their lowest pandemic levels in the last week of December and the first week of January at 782,000 and 784,000, respectively. For the weeks ending January 9 and 16 claims spiked to 926,000 and 900,000. This is the highest they have been since late August, when claims finally fell below 1 million.
Higher benefits, passed at the end of December, may have something to do with the surge in claims. But a weakening job market caused by higher COVID-19 case levels is also driving claims higher. The elevated claims mean we could see another month of job losses in January.

Go deeper: To get a more complete view of unemployment claims it’s necessary to look at continuing claims as well. Those include all those who have filed, minus those that are no longer receiving benefits because they have gone back to work or have exhausted the weeks they can receive benefits.

Continuing claims have been dropping steadily, even as initial claims have spiked. The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell 127,000 for the week ending January 9. This is a good sign that people are going back to work, even if the decline is in part driven by longer-term unemployed people having run out of benefits.
Bottom line: The job market will remain rocky as virus levels remain high. When virus cases drop as vaccinations rise, and more states open their economies, it will improve.

—Curtis Dubay, Senior Economist, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Check out openings from Chamber members. Postings are a free benefit for members - let us know if you'd like to add yours to the listing! 


Abilene Industrial Foundation is wanting to learn more about the businesses in our area. One area that we are interested in knowing about is remote working. Remote work is a working style that allows professionals to work outside of a traditional office environment. Click on this quick survey. We appreciate your time!


Every year local organizations provide scholarship opportunities to students in our community as they look to taking their next steps after high school graduation. A few partner organizations with scholarship opportunities include:

Please share your organization's scholarship opportunities by emailing Marissa.


When you join the BCMA, you connect with a community that’s committed to the growth and advancement of manufacturing in the Big Country. Membership supports efforts to provide manufacturers a network to collaborate and support industry growth as well as inspire young people to find a passion for manufacturing. Membership is completely free. Leverage your membership to:
  • exchange information with other manufacturers about innovation and constantly evolving technology.
  • introduce young people to your company and careers in manufacturing.
  • develop local supply chains.
  • explore and refine best practices.
There is no registration cost or annual fee.

Thursday, February 18, 2021 | 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET
As a training program that leads to high-quality and high-paying jobs, Registered Apprenticeship has the potential to serve as a solution to achieving greater equity. To reach that potential, apprenticeship leaders and providers must confront the structural racism that persists throughout the U.S. workforce, including the Registered Apprenticeship system. Join current and former state apprenticeship directors in this upcoming discussion to learn how they are expanding racial and economic equity in Registered Apprenticeship.
February 1, 2021 | 3:00 - 4:30 PM ET
Workforce Solutions’ Child Care Services (CCS) program offers financial assistance to help qualifying families pay their child care expenses so they can work, go to school, or attend a training program. Families receiving child care assistance must meet federal, state, and local guidelines in order to qualify for child care assistance.
ABOUT: Workforce Wednesday content and newsletter is created in partnership with the Abilene Chamber, the Abilene Industrial Foundation and the Development Corporation of Abilene - Develop Abilene Team.