Tyler's economy outlook for 2009

It is the perfect example of an imperfect trickle down. Nearly 200 Tyler Pipe employees were left looking for jobs, while over at Carrier they announced they were moving some of their production to Mexico.

"You hate to lose primary jobs. Those are jobs companies that make a product, they sell it all over the country, and bring new money back in," said Tom Mullins with the Tyler Economic Development Council back in August.

Mullins said that as the country goes, so does East Texas.

Five months later we spoke with Mullins again.

"It's 18-hundred jobs. Manufacturing jobs that were impacted last year in Tyler and Smith County alone," said Mullins.

Mullins said he expects the nation to continue to struggle into early 2009. On the other hand, he said there is hope here at home.

"We are the regional center right now for retail, medical, and education services," explained Mullins.

Hospitals are expanding, which means healthcare jobs are growing.

Mullins said that in October, sales tax figures were down everywhere in the state, but here they were up 9 percent compared to last year.

He said those are positive signs along with new development. For example, the nearly 400 acre (North Chase Residential) project which is expected to go up on North Broadway in Tyler.

There are concerns though when it comes to the financial sector and home construction in East Texas.

"The federal interest rate is now almost to zero, and at some point it's not going to be an option anymore. You can't go below zero," said Mullins. "Until people get that confidence level back, in Tyler, East Texas and across the country, they're going to be more cautious about making those major expenditures."

The Tyler Economic Council says local retail figures for the holiday shopping season are not in yet but it expects those numbers to be fairly strong, as well.

Layron Livingston, Reporting llivingston@kltv.com