Employment opportunities projected to be consistent in 2013

2013-01-08 09:34:49
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BARSTOW • The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.8 percent in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday, and area employers and a regional economist project little to consistent growth in Barstow.

In 2012, employment increased by 16,700 jobs or 1.5 percent in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties compared to numbers from Sept. 2011, according to the Inland Empire Quarterly Economic Report.

John Husing, a regional economist who compiled the report said he expects employment gains to be stronger in Barstow in 2013.

“I think 2013 will be stronger than 2012 just simply because gradually the general economic environment is improving. We will have a rough first couple of quarters because of the fiscal negotiations,” Husing said.

“We’ve been slowly getting better off but it’s very slow,” he said.

As the Afghanistan War winds down, Gus Bahena, Media Relations Officer at Fort Irwin, said the National Training Center does not expect any changes to the number of assigned soldiers. He said the base, which is the number one employer in Barstow, will continue to employ 4900 assigned soldiers and 1000 civil service employees. The installation also hosts and trains approximately 50,000 soldiers in rotational units per fiscal year, according to Bahena.

“We are not aware of any significant changes in the near future,” Bahena said.

Two of the cities top employers said they expected their number of employees to remain unchanged, while attrition may provide for a small number of employment opportunities.

A spokeswoman for the BNSF Railway, the number four employer in Barstow, said that upcoming hiring would primarily be replacement hiring due to attrition.

Jennifer Rodriguez, general manager of the Tanger Outlets said the center employs approximately 500 employees and that she expects that number to stay the same this year. According to data from the City of Barstow website the center is the eighth highest employer in the area.

“Tanger has a significant impact as we create jobs for the community and we also make revenue for the city,” Rodriguez said.

Jim Davis, assistant superintendent of personnel services for the Barstow Unified School District, said the number of employees within the District is expected to remain consistent this year because of declining student enrollment.

“It’s kind of difficult. Especially when the number of teachers and support staff is based on our student population. It’s stable at this time so we’re not going to be hiring as we’ve done in past years,” Davis said.

For more information on the Inland Empire Quarterly Economic Report goto: www.johnhusing.com.

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