Diversity key to Longview's continued economic growth - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Diversity key to Longview's continued economic growth

As the stock market continues its roller coaster ride, one East Texas community is among an elite group that is coasting. Officials in Longview and Gregg County say they sport low unemployment rates and a prospering economy.

As KLTV 7's Bob Hallmark shows us, the secret is diversity.

Unlike some communities, Longview is not tied to any one or two industries.

"We have an excellent manufacturing base and excellent healthcare base," said Susan Mazarakes of the Longview Economic Development Corp.

A diverse economic base fuels a stable economy.

"I think we will continue to be what we develop," said Longview Mayor Jay Dean.

"Well I think a lot has to do with the oil and gas exploration here. That has a major effect," said Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt.

"We have a shopping location centrally located for probably 3,000 or 4,000 people."

Manufacturing, healthcare, and oil and natural gas are foundations of the economy, but service companies inject more revenue.

"Another diverse part of the economy is what's going on right behind me. There are several coal and lignite mining operations which could figure prominently in the next administration and these operations need support companies. A lot of companies support these industries, they are growing industries."

But some caution against being too upbeat.

"I will be cautiously optimistic of this national phenomenon with the stock market and the effects its having on mutual funds," said Judge Stoudt.

With a stable housing market and 4.4% unemployment rating, Longview's future is much brighter than others.

"People are building homes because they're making a good wage here. I think we're going to weather this storm just fine."

Longview has been recognized as one of only three Texas cities with the lowest unemployment rating by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The other two were San Angelo and College Station-Bryan.

Bob Hallmark, reporting. bhallmark@kltv.com

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