East Texas creeping out of economic slump

Sandra Hopson
Sandra Hopson

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - For many East Texans, it's a slow climb out of the economic slump.

"I've put in like at least 6 weeks I know of here lately, every day and nothing," job-seeker Gary Dempsey said.

Dempsey has been out of work for more than a year and now he can no longer draw unemployment.

"You get frustrated, I mean, you know, if they're hiring, then some places need to let you know," Dempsey said. "Some do, Georgia-Pacific sent me a letter and let me know, not this time. It's really stressing."

The numbers are looking better. The unemployment rate from April to may has stayed the same for Nacogdoches and all of Deep East Texas. While Angelina County has sent a few more people back to work.

"April and May we've more than doubled the amount of people we've put to work," said Sandra Hopson of WorkForce Solutions.

At WorkForce Solutions, job postings have steadily gone down since March, but the number of people hired has fluctuated so far this summer.

"Job postings are still kind of slow," Hopson said. "I think a lot of employers are planning to do more, for some reason they've just been standing back a little bit until they really see how things are going to go, if they're really going to have that demand."

Lufkin industries says they're starting to see a little demand. Fifty people hired in the last two months. Their recall list? Exhausted.

"We're encouraged by the economic recovery, although it's a modest recovery, it's not a steep climb, but we're cautiously optimistic that our business will continue to turn levels," said Paul Perez, Lufkin Industries vice president.

Meanwhile, Hopson says there are more part, than full-time jobs available, so job hunters should keep their options open. She says always fill out an application.

"Keep trying, I mean like me, just keep trying and even though you might get discouraged and stressed out, you just got to keep going," Dempsey said.

As for East Texas, the rate remained at 9.1 percent. Angelina County dipped to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in April. Nacogdoches County remained at 6.5 percent.

For the county seats, Lufkin is down to 8.2 percent from 8.3 and Nacogdoches remained at 6.5.

Following are the unemployment figures for the East Texas counties, with last month's figures in parentheses:

Angelina: 8.1 (8.3)

Houston: 10.0 (10.4)

Jasper: 11.4 (11.3)

Nacogdoches: 6.5 (6.5)

Newton: 12.7 (12.3)

Polk: 9.5 (9.6)

Sabine: 16.1 (16.3)

San Augustine: 12.0 (11.8)

San Jacinto: 9.5 (9.7)

Shelby: 8.2 (8.4)

Trinity: 8.8 (9.0)

Tyler: 10.6 (10.4)

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