This week’s main story in the El Paso Inc. is titled El Paso’s Birthrate is Falling, by David Crowder. Here are the first three paragraphs:
While populations are growing fast in other big counties across Texas, El Paso County is growing slowly and getting slower because people are leaving for better paying jobs and the county’s birthrate is steadily declining.
Among El Paso’s unique assets are its very low unemployment rate, crime rates and cost of living, as well as UTEP and El Paso Community College pumping out graduates.
Weighing against those assets appears to be big problem No. 1: the lack of high wages and salaries in the private sector needed to keep El Paso’s college graduates from leaving in droves.
Wait a minute. Isn’t this story about falling birthrates?
I guess the Inc.’s corporate sponsors couldn’t handle the truth of El Paso’s mass exodus, so the Inc. had to break it to them gently, without blaming them.
El Chuqueño broke that story first. In 2016. And 2017. And 2018. And just last April.
But now look! The El Paso Inc. has found a shiny new penny!
And if you didn’t bother to read the story (understandable), you might think that El Paso’s population stagnation was due to falling birthrates. But El Paso’s falling birthrates are because a lot of our fertile couples are leaving town for paying jobs.
Joyce “The Peasants Are Crazy” Wilson understands.
“We should be more competitive,” said Joyce Wilson, chief executive of Workforce Solutions Borderplex, the state’s privatized employment and training agency for the region. “In virtually all areas, we’re at the bottom or near in terms of wages.”
Wages are the price of labor, and prices are determined by supply and demand. Maybe they don’t teach Economics at Ms. Wilson’s alma mater, the Harvard Kennedy School of Public Administration.
That would explain a lot.
Corporations and People are moving to Texas, just not El Paso. UTEP may be pumping out graduates, but the city lacks a skilled labor force and especially a Quality of Life issue. In order for corporations to attract talent, they have to offer their employees something to do besides Work. What does El Paso offer? Juarez is a Killing Zone, so that’s gone. Water Parks? But what about September through May? About 8 months of the year unable to use them. Golf? Millennials don’t golf anymore and El Paso’s average age is 33. Drink at a bar? Every city has craft cocktail bars, including Ft. Stockton? The young people are fleeing…..soon the Kings of Chuco town will have a developed downtown, but who’s going to go there when there are no people…..?
El Paso is not for everybody.