Counting Change Part 1

POSTED: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 - 8:49am

UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 12:00pm

SMITH COUNTY—As employers continue to cut jobs and payrolls, employees struggle to make ends meet.

The nation's unemployment rate hit a 15-year high of 6.7 percent. Employers cuts more than 2.8 million jobs. Recent unemployment rates for the city of Tyler hit 6.5 percent.

Several large employers in East Texas recently made job cuts; Tyler's Good Year plant closed and approximately 700 jobs were lost, Tyler Pipe cut nearly 185 employees, Lufkin's Citation Corporation closed and approximately 400 jobs were lost and one of Tyler's largest employers, Carrier Corporation, plans to eliminate jobs by January.

Workforce Solutions East Texas Area Director, Stephen Lynch, says high unemployment rates translate into high traffic at Workforce Solutions. Lynch says as layoffs continue more workers are turning to minimum wage jobs.

Texas currently has almost twice as many workers earning minimum wage or less than the national average and it's a record for the state.

In order to keep the U.S. Workforce above the poverty line, in the 1960's the government started using minimum wage. Today, the poverty line for a household of three is set at an annual income of $17, 600. However, based on an 40-hour week a minimum wage worker earns $13,600 per year. Therefore, a family of three sits more than 23 percent below the poverty line.

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