Economy recovering faster in East Texas than other parts of the state, economist says

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Updated: Jan. 7, 2021 at 7:10 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Speaking virtually today at the annual economic outlook, economist Dr. Ray Perryman says after a few hard months in 2020, the East Texas economy is showing signs of recovery.

“Employment went down about 10%, you’ve now made back about 70% of that. That’s a little better than what you’ve seen the nation and state do,” Perryman said.

Perryman says before the pandemic, East Texas saw more than a decade of growing economic development.

“We not only have to make up the losses from 2020, but what we would have grown otherwise. It’s going to take a couple years to get all that back on the trend where we were before this started,” Perryman said.

From travel and leisure to oil and gas, Perryman says industries are seeing a slightly quicker recovery in East Texas due in part to what’s available here.

“I think you have some real opportunities here, because again the amenities, the health systems, the education systems, the resources that are here, we want to capitalize on some things that will be much more important in economic development in the future than we have in the past,” Perryman said.

And with the arrival of the vaccine, Perryman says this will only aid in recovery as more people roll up their sleeves and get the shot.

“Five or six months or seven months, we don’t know exactly how long it’ll take, but we’ll get enough people vaccinated and keep the structure of the economy together, which we’ve done a pretty good job of, it could’ve been better, but if you do those things, then we can come back with some momentum after that,” Perryman said.

In their most recent update, the Texas Workforce Commission says the November 2020 unemployment rate for the Tyler area is 7.1%, nearly one percent lower than the statewide rate.

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