Cherokee County optimistic despite high unemployment numbers - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Cherokee County optimistic despite high unemployment numbers

Potential layoffs like Dana Corps are being felt across the country. This morning, the government reported more grim news, saying employers cut 240 thousand jobs in October, raising the unemployment rate to 6.5%. One East Texas county is not far behind.

Cherokee County reported a 6.4% unemployment rate in September well above its neighboring counties such as Smith, Gregg, Wood and Upshur.

This afternoon, KLTV 7's Molly Reuter spoke with officials in Cherokee County who say despite hard economic times they are staying optimistic. For three straight months the Cherokee County unemployment rate has stayed in the sixes, something the county has not seen in years.

"We went through a little bit of a rough spell employment rise early on when we lost some manufacturing jobs," said Mayor Haberle.

Jacksonville mayor Robert Haberle is talking about Alliance Data, now E-telecare Global Solutions, which closed last spring, taking more than 250 jobs with it. Astro Air also shut down, cutting 400 jobs.

Fortunately, Haberle says the city has recently been able to bring in new business.

"The E-telecare Global Systems came to town and are wrapping up to provide about 400 jobs in town, and we also opened up through another partnership with Trinity Mother Frances, opened up a nursing school in Jacksonville," said Mayor Haberle.

Workforce Solutions of East Texas says the jobs are tight across East Texas and more and more people are coming in needing work.

"We are not seeing any of the retail markets right now picking up, due to Christmas. We usually expect to see that start picking up this time of year," said Harold Womble.  

So who's hiring? Workforce Solutions says the oil field is still strong, but it's not hiring in big numbers.

"Some of them are just being cautious. They are hiring for those immediate needs they've got have to keep their plants running or operations running," said Womble.

Doing what they can to get by, just like the average American during these hard economic times.

We spoke with the Chamber of Commerce in Rusk, Cherokee County's other major hub of employment. The city says it has not seen the problems Jacksonville has because of the high number of government jobs. Rusk also just added a large employer, Etech Inc., which will bring around 200 more jobs.

Molly Reuter, reporting.

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