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Surviving the slump: Snyder jobs still plentiful, but not in oil market

SNYDER — Plenty of jobs are still available, but fewer of them are oil-related.

Scurry County’s unemployment rate has risen a percentage point or so in the past six months, according to figures from the Texas Workforce Commission. But at just over 4 percent, it’s still slightly below the state and national averages.

Bill Lavers, executive director of the Development Corp. of Snyder, is not aware of any laid-off oilfield workers who are desperately but unsuccessfully seeking new jobs. Instead, most found employment in other areas.

“We’ve been dropping in oilfield jobs, but we’ve been picking up in construction and hospitality,” he said.

New hotels

Snyder is home to two construction sites for two new hotels.

A Comfort Inn at the corner of U.S. 84 and U.S. 180 is set for a late-November completion. With 68 rooms, a bar and a conference center, a goal is to make the hotel conference-friendly, construction superintendent Zeke Gonzales said.

“More companies can have conferences here in Snyder,” he said. “… It’s gonna have a contemporary look to it.”

Across town on College Avenue, work continues on a Fairfield Inn and Suites branch. By its completion late spring or early summer, the three-story building will contain 81 rooms, an outdoor swimming pool and a patio area, superintendent Chris Taylor said.

Related: Hundreds more job cuts announced in Texas

Other projects

Another new hotel, a Hampton Inn, is already open.

Industrial Fleet Repair opened in July in Snyder. The company specializes in repairs for large-engine vehicles such as school buses.

A new Stripes store is among other smaller projects in development, Lavers said.

“Things are still happening in spite of the downturn in oil,” he said.

Lavers is also pushing educational programs for oilfield workers, with the assumption the market will eventually return. For example, a Scurry County man who worked as a roustabout on an oil site might take advantage of extra time during the bust period to earn a commercial driver’s license, then receive a higher-paying position in the next boom.

“Now is time to put some time and energy into training folks, because it will come back,” Lavers said. “When it comes back they can get paid a little more because they’ve got that extra training.”

Highway construction

Snyder highway construction project set for October completion

A highway-construction project in and around Snyder is catching up from delays.

Mary Belle Turner, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, anticipates the project will be completed by early October. Severe weather or other unexpected events could push that date back further.

Delays now were caused by weather earlier this year and obtaining necessary materials, Turner said.

“However, it should be completed in the coming weeks,” she said.

Orange cones along a stretch of U.S. 84 mark the project. Traffic in that area is reduced to one lane. The project contains a permeable friction course overlay, repairs to existing pavement and a grade change underneath two bridges to allow for more clearance, Turner said.

This article was written by Josie Musico from Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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