Job Prospects Dire In New Year

With the unemployment rate at 6%, those losing jobs could have a hard time finding new ones. Many hoped the New Year would breath life back into the job market, but that's not the case for hundreds of East Texans. The East Texas Workforce Center says the coming of the new year has created even more competition among job applicants. The center has seen about a 10% increase in the number of people applying for jobs.

"It's going to be a while before I can get out of debt," said Vanessa Mitchell after 4 months of unemployment. Mitchell is looking for a job near her children's school, but says getting what you want in a tight market is hard.

"Everybody is going through the same thing. There's so much more competition."

In both Gregg and Smith Counties, the unemployment rate rose about a point between 2001 and 2002.