Ark-La-Tex Job Market Is Diverse Enough To Handle Numerous Layoffs

By Jonathan McCall - bio | email

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - At first it was the layoffs at General Motors, and now more than 200 workers from the Pilgrim Pride plant in Bossier learned they would be getting pink slips on Tuesday. More than a 1000 workers between the two plants will be out of work before mid-October, but despite the numbers, officials say the Ark-La-Tex has enough cushion to soften the blow. "Often times we're focused on getting the next project and growing which is what we're suppose to be doing, but we also need to take care of our existing businesses and employees."

David Rockett with the Bossier Economic Development Foundation says diverse job markets such as the Cyber-Command, film industry, tourism, and now the Haynesville Shale and even the growing medical industry provides stability."Our local hospitals in Bossier just doubled its capacity at Willis-Knighton and also they just built a new medical office. The bio-med at LSU, all those sectors are growing." Rockett says unlike the oil bust of the 80's that crippled the area's economy... he says the last 12-15 months the area has been a hot bed for new development. "We have a pretty good mixture of our market. We don't have all of our eggs in one basket."

And before they are let go, Rockett says he, along with the Louisiana Rapid Response team will be helping workers from the plants, transition into the new market. "I think we'll be able to find these workers new opportunities within the market."