Economic Impacts Of Goodyear Closure To Be Felt By Many - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/30/06-Tyler

Economic Impacts Of Goodyear Closure To Be Felt By Many

The effect of the Goodyear closing will be felt far and wide in East Texas, as former workers -- those who stay here -- may have trouble finding jobs at the wage level they and their families used to have.

City leaders say they're hopeful to not lose too many of the 1,100 workers but times are likely to get tougher.

"They will have to retool and develop some skills that were close to what they were being paid, and that's going to be hard to do because these were some of the highest paying jobs in this entire region." said Tom Mullins, president of the Tyler Economic Development Council.

The loss will impact a housing boom that's already slowing a bit.  Century 21's Jason Wright says changes in the economy coupled with the plant closing could create a better buyers market.

"I think you might finally see, a pull back in activity, but also maybe a little softening in the prices," Wright said.

As much as three or four percent in a year, but the bursting of a bubble, he says, it's not. The medical industry is also one that may suffer, as Goodyear had a comprehensive insurance package, and the ripple effect just starts from there.

"It's about $950 million annually, and it's a huge loss to the economy, not just in the medical but the retail sector," says Mullins.

Even for those able to find good jobs, Economist Ashton Oravetz of Tyler Junior College still says there will be less money to spend.

"Even if they don't move [from East Texas], they are not likely to be buying cars and not likely to be buying big screen TVs."

The tires still spin at George Lemmert's Tire Barn.  This former plant worker caters to current Goodyear employees.

"I would say at least 25 percent of my business is employees from the plant, and then you have their kin," he says.

He says the closure will hurt, but he's hopeful that most workers will stay in East Texas.

"I'm not real sure how it's going to impact the business, but I know it's going to have an effect."

One that will be felt, many say, for years to come.

Reported by Morgan Palmer, morganpalmer@kltv.com.

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