TYLER, TX (KLTV) - This Labor Day, nearly 15 million Americans are without jobs. The most recent numbers released by the Labor Department show that the unemployment rate has barely dropped since this day last year. In a speech to union workers Monday, President Obama discussed the economic situation.
"Put us working people back to work," said Sharon Martin, an unemployed East Texan. Martin celebrated Labor Day at a picnic held for East Texas union workers. Her husband is a union worker, but she is unemployed. Martin said she cleaned homes and businesses for a living, but when the economy went South, she lost most of her jobs. "People is just not hiring anymore like they were," said Martin.
Similar stories can be heard nation-wide as the unemployment rate has stayed over 9% for 16 months. This time last year, unemployment was at 9.7%. Today, it is at 9.6%.
"Tyler has been kind of insulated. We lost the Goodyear Plant, we lost some people from Carrier. Basically, we are doing ok, but we would like to see more jobs created in the Tyler, East Texas area," said JoAnn Hampton, a Smith County Commissioner.
Hampton said the Tyler Economic Development Council is working to bring new industries to the Tyler area. She said, "We have had several companies look at the Goodyear Plant. We are working to do everything we can do to create more jobs here in the Tyler area."
In the last 3 months, private employers added 78,000 jobs each month nation-wide. Economists say it will take 200,000 new jobs a month to rehire the unemployed and people entering the workforce.
Organizers of today's picnic say their goal is to create jobs for unemployed East Texans and help the employed get the benefits they need.
Candidate for Texas Governor, Bill White, made an appearance at the picnic. He spoke to the East Texas crowd about education and job creation.