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From Midland Reporter-Telegram

Economists are sounding alarm bells in Midland stressing if the region doesn’t do something to increase the supply of affordable housing, the economy will not be able to grow.

Because of the area’s abundance of natural resources and the boom of the oil industry, economic activity is expected to fuel the region for the foreseeable future.

With the flood of oil industry workers ascending on the region, the area is in great need of more skilled workers to fill positions needed to service the increase in population. There is a severe lack of workers in a variety of areas such as classrooms, restaurants, retail stores, hotels and hospitals.

“Like everyone else, we worry about a skilled workforce,” said Willie Taylor, chief executive officer of the Texas Workforce Commission’s Workforce Solutions Permian Basin.

“You can’t build a community with man camps,” Taylor said. “You need affordable housing, so people can bring in their families. If they bring in their families, they can go to work in retail, in the medical field, in education.”

“The cost of housing is a serious issue,” said Steve Beach, dean of the College of Business at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. “The effort someone has to put into finding housing takes away from the job at hand. We are far behind on having affordable housing.”

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