Measures of Underemployment
San Angelo has commissioned studies of “underemployment” in the summer of 1998 and during the spring and summer of 2003. Both studies by the Pathfinders of Dallas, Texas (1998) and graduate students at Angelo State University (2003) came to very similar conclusions:
San Angelo Area Economic Development Strategy – Prepared for the Concho Valley Economic Development District – The Pathfinders – Dallas, Texas
“The results of this assessment determined that in addition to those 1,800 unemployed people in the county, there are just over 11,000 people defined as UNDEREMPLOYED, who would take a better job if offered by a new employer and who possess the skills, education, and experience to qualify for that better job. About 2,800 would do so for $6.75/hour or less, while about one-half would take that job for less than $10.50/hour.”
San Angelo Area Labor Market Study – Prepared by Chad W.
Nelson with the support of Dr. Sudhir Chawla – Angelo State
University – Presented on October 29, 2003 – Page
“Potential Labor Pool – Of the persons who indicated that they are seeking new or additional employment, 81.7% are very likely to apply for a new or additional position in the San Angelo area. This means that the overall potential pool of candidates in the civilian labor pool is in excess of 9,700 people.”
“When asked what percent increase in pay would make them move to a similar job in the MetroPlex, nearly 34% of respondents indicated that they would not move. This statistic reflects the stability and commitment to the city that potential suitors would identify as important. Particularly when measured against workers’ negative attitudes about the pay and opportunities the city currently has to offer, this measurement is significant”.
One of the most effective ways to judge the underemployment of a community is to offer new jobs through job fairs. The job fair is a one-stop event that allows job applicants to learn about a new employer, file an application for one of the jobs, and in many cases, tested for required skills during the event. In the mid-1990’s, SITEL had a job fair for telemarketing jobs with a training wage of around $6.00/hour. They had over 1,400 applicants during the job fair. Several years later, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas had a job fair that drew over 2,000 applicants for medical claims processing jobs.
In early 2005, Verizon had 600 applications for a new customer service center that opened in San Angelo. All three companies had satisfactory experiences in tapping into the “underemployed” in San Angelo.
Wage and Educational Attainment Disparity
In the “Labor Information” section of this web site, a link to the “Industry Sector Analysis of Tom Green County” is posted for viewing – in executive summary and in its entirety. On page 24, the report indicates that the average wage for a job located in Tom Green County (San Angelo MSA), was 26% lower than the national average in 2003. On page 25 the report states, “In 2000, a higher share of Tom Green County residents were enrolled in college or graduate school than in the state or nation.” And, “Educational attainment levels in Tom Green County are competitive with the state and nation.”
What does this mean? One explanation is underemployment – residents staying in San Angelo for reasons other wage rates. In the State of Texas: Wage Information Network web site in September of 2005, the average annual salary paid to San Angelo residents in the “all occupations” category was $5,153 less than the statewide average. San Angelo’s quality of life is an important factor in providing the balance between pay scale and quality of living.