Economists forecast less job growth, higher wages in El Paso

El Paso, Texas (KFOX14/CBS4)

Economists at UTEP predict El Paso's economy will go from 2.2 percent growth in 2017 to 2 percent growth this year.

"We're heading in the direction of having a $32.4 billion economy in terms of personal income performance by 2019," Dr. Tom Fullerton said.

Fullerton said about 500 fewer jobs will be created in El Paso this year compared to 2017, but wages will increase.

"The labor market has become tighter," he said.

Fullerton and economist Adam Walke said that's what happens with such a low unemployment rate in the city. Fullerton and Walke wrote the Borderplex Economic Outlook report in 2019.

Walke said last year's job growth was in every major sector. This year, the report states that there will be growth in every sector, but at a slower rate.

"We're expecting to see slower growth in construction after a lot of big projects have been built over the last few years," Walke said.

Fullerton said projects like TopGolf, which employed a lot of construction workers, will have more intangible benefits now that it's open.

"The fact that the entertainment sector of El Paso continues to expand, that makes it easier to recruit workers and businesses from other regions of the country," Fullerton said.

El Pasoans said that's where they want to continue to see growth.

"Hopefully they'll bring in more venues so there can be more high-paying jobs," Debbi Saucedo said. "We definitely need them."

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