East Texas seasonal hires may have helped lower statewide unemployment rate

East Texas seasonal hires may have helped lower statewide unemployment rate
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (AP) - According to the Texas Workforce Commission,  the statewide unemployment rate for the month of October has fallen to a 3.9 percent, the lowest rate in four decades.

In East Texas, some holiday job openings may have helped that percentage decrease.

During March, Target finished a $3.5-million remodel that brought in new product lines.

"We've actually added new positions, and we've been able to accommodate additional hires because our business has escalated since then," said store team leader, Kris Hoephner, a team leader at Target.

This addition to the Target team led to 60 people receiving a temporary holiday job.

With a rapid growth in the digital world, more people are putting in online orders which made room for these jobs.

"We've added some new aspects, digital aspects, and so, we've had to staff up for those added types of businesses as well," Hoephner said.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas economy added 71,500 seasonally adjusted jobs in October.

After JC Penney in Houston held a hiring event for hurricane victims, the JC Penney in Lufkin thought doing the same would help bring job opportunities to East Texas.

"Ours was about the middle of October, and we did get many great applicants during that time," said general manager Marcia Best.

In fact, they hired more people this holiday season than last year.

The JC Penney family said even though recent hires are considered temporary, they hope to keep employees around.

"Anybody hired around this time is coded as temporary," Best said. "We always have the hopes that we may be able to get some of the people to stay on during the holidays."

At Target, Hoephner said it's fulfilling to help out people job searching.

Hoephner said it's rewarding to see someone who is looking for a position with a national retailer to be able to provide them with that opportunity.

Both Target and JC Penney said applications are still open for this holiday season and can be found online or in store.

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