LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Lufkin Industries announced they have hired back more than 200 employees and are looking to hire about 70 more.
When Paul Perez from Lufkin Industries called Wednesday, Jim Wehmeier didn't hesitate.
"He called me yesterday at about 11 in the morning and we were in his office at 2 that afternoon," said Wehmeier, the Director of Angelina County Economic Development.
Wehmeier learned the company is hiring about 70 new employees in their oilfield division. They've already hired back about 250 since last year's layoffs.
"They're hiring as many people locally as they possible can and then we'll help them get the word out on that and also maybe supplement that if they need to try to recruit somebody in," explained Wehmeier.
Lufkin Industries recruits from 11 area counties. The company projects the level of work in the next few months will require additional jobs.
"All these jobs we estimate are valued at a minimum of $40,000 with all benefits that go with that," said Perez.
The company had layoffs at the oilfield in 2009. Now, they've exhausted their recall list, and they're ready to hire new employees.
"We think that by adding additional people it will not only help the local economy, it will help the safety of our employees to work fewer hours," said Perez.
Wehmeier said the hires will make a dent in the local recession.
"That means 12.5 to almost 13 million dollars worth of payroll going back into the community that had previously left," said Wehmeier.
He's optimistic it may be an indicator of where the economy is headed.
"To an extent it will show, hey the water is safe, we feel like the economy is turning around," he said.
"It's a very, very positive, rewarding feeling to be able to be a part of that, but we recognize that there are a lot of people here in the community who are still very much affected by the national economy," said Perez.
Perez said the employees are needed, in-part from demand, but also to keep current employees safe.