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More jobs coming to the area

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The local unemployment rate has increased slightly from last year.

Thousands of new jobs are anticipated in the area this year. They will be found mostly in the health care, construction, and oil and gas sectors.

Amarillo National Bank Sr. Vice President William Ware says, "We've got more people moving to Amarillo. We've got more businesses wanting to hire because they're expanding their business lines like Bell helicopter and Xcel Energy, who's doing a new transmission line all over the panhandle. So we see a lot of ancillary growth because of these bigger businesses wanting to bring jobs to Amarillo."

Xcel Energy Representative Wes Reeves says they're going to need more workers because they're building more power lines. He says, "We're going to see a need for more people obviously to build those lines. And also to plan and design those lines. We're beginning to see more younger engineers coming to our building here for instance because some have retired. Then we just have a higher need for those skills at this point in time."

They're spending about a billion dollars on new transmission. Reeves says they're not even halfway through this big investment cycle.

Reeves says, "As we move toward the storm season when we have a lot more activity in that area. We're going to see a need for about 80 employees here in the Amarillo call center. They're not full-time jobs but a lot of those jobs will eventually transition into full-time jobs. A special need for Spanish speakers or bilingual reps as well."

They're also pushing for younger applicants looking for careers in the industry. He says, "if you are going to college, look into an engineering type of degree because we're going to be needing a lot of folks. Not only say this year and the next year, but as we move forward primarily because we are seeing an older workforce that's beginning to look at retirement. So we've got to replace these folks."

Xcel Energy is also looking to hire more women in what has been a male dominated field.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10. 

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