Jobless rate rises across state, East Texas

Amanda Jones
Amanda Jones
Kimberly Perez
Kimberly Perez

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

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Kimberly Perez is a single mom, with five kids, and she's on the job hunt.

"It's very burdening," Perez said. "It's kind of like having the weight of the world on your shoulders."

Amanda Jones is also a single mom of five.

In her late 40s, she went back to school for the chance at a better job and now she's struggling to find one.

"I don't want to give up and say it was all I vain," Jones said. "I'm glad I got there, but I just want to find something that suits my field."

Unemployment numbers are up in every Deep East Texas county.

163 more people joined the unemployment line in Angelina County last month. That's up from 134 in Nacogdoches County.

"Oh we're seeing just large numbers of people at the WorkForce center coming in, some days more than others," said Sandra Hopson of WorkForce Solutions.

Hopson says as big as the unemployment numbers are on this spreadsheet, they don't even include the number of East Texans that are under-employed.

The news comes just after President Obama signed a bill extending unemployment benefits. A good thing, Hopson says since she doesn't expect the jobless numbers to get any better soon.

"The people that were hired for Christmas help along with a lot of other companies are I think maybe letting some people go too, so I really do look for the numbers to go up and I think a lot of people are preparing."

Seasonal hiring is over, but she says some businesses are saying there may be hope after the first of the year.

"I've given up the hope of finding anything before the year is out, so I'm just filling out applications hoping that at the first of the year I can get something," Jones said.

"I believe that if anyone puts forth a good effort, I think that you can get a job," Perez said. "You just have to be willing to take any job that you can get, even if it means scrubbing toilets."

Hopson says she hopes it gets better, but things are not likely to really pick up until 2012.

Below are the unemployment percentages for every East Texas county. October percentages are in parentheses:

Texas: 8.3 (7.9)

Deep East Texas: 9.3 (8.8)

Angelina: 8.1 (7.8)

Houston: 10.5 (10.0)

Jasper: 11.6 (11.0)

Nacogdoches: 6.7 (6.4)

Newton: 13.0 (12.2)

Polk: 10.1 (9.7)

Sabine: 16.6 (15.0)

San Augustine: 11.5 (10.9)

San Jacinto: 10.9 (9.7)

Shelby: 8.4 (7.8)

Trinity: 8.7 (8.4)

Tyler: 10.8 (10.0)

City of Lufkin: 8.1 (7.9)

City of Nacogdoches: 7.0 (6.6)

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