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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Down and out in Union County

When I left Three Creeks in January 2008 to teach English in Ciudad Miguel Alemán, Tamaulipas, México life here was more or less "normal". I returned on February 10, 2009 to find life altered greatly. The US Depression had hit.

Union County traditionally had 4 major employers - Great Lakes Chemical, Georgia Pacific (timber industry), Murphy Oil and the Poultry Industry (once Con Agra and then Pilgrim's Pride). 3 of the 4 are now more or less shut down. Murphy Oil is the only one still going and most of its operations are not in Union County but in Houston, New Orleans, London, Malaysia, .... So Union County is hurting with formerly employed persons no laid-off, unemployed or soon to be unemployed. The people who raised chickens for Pilgrim's Pride (or handled layers for eggs) are now facing uncertain times.

So you can say the US is not in a depression (like the 1930s), but it sure is looking like here locally. And I don't look for the Obama "Stimulus" package to stimulate anything locally but a higher deficit to bog down the economy in years to come. Union County needs I69 to get moving! A connection to the Interstate grid could help bring new business to South Arkansas. If nothing else the local economy would benefit with the spending of the highway construction crews. But when will 69 construction begin? ¿Quien Sabe? Only God Knows!

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