Businesses don't want to see Cooper Tire go - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Businesses don't want to see Cooper Tire go

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

November 7, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Now would be an especially bad time to lose more than 1,000 jobs.

New numbers out Friday show the nation's unemployment rate at a 14 year high.

Georgia's unemployment rates is higher than it's been in 16 years.

With the prospect of a decision that may see Cooper Tire Close it's doors in less than 90 days local business are not happy.

"I'm loosing business, I've had people come in here and order, things go out to cooper tire, I'll no longer have their business," said Rachel Jones, Affordable Flowers Owner.

Jones' flower shop is within two miles of the plant.

With Georgia's unemployment rate at 6.5% officials here know what could result if the worst happens.

"Cooper employees 1,335 people if the plant close down these people will loose their jobs,"  said Andrea Schruijer, Economic Development Commission. 

At a special presentation Friday Dougherty County students presented letters to plant officials about what the loss could mean for Albany.

"I was actually a little teary eyed ad the young lady was reading her letter and it makes me understand the importance of what we do and how it impacts the community," said Kervin Cross, Albany Cooper Plant HR Manager.

The future is what area business are also concerned about, on Friday Rachel had to cut the hours of her only full time employee.

"Because of the economy and some of the expenses that have came up I've had to cut her hours from 40 to 24," said Jones.

While Cooper Tire looks at the study to decide whether to close the plant, the hope is that letters and community support will help keep the Albany plant open.

Hopefully when that final decision is made it will be the one both employees and businesses in the area are looking for.

The national unemployment for October was 6.5-percent.

The latest Georgia numbers are from September.

The statewide rate was 6.5-percent and the Albany area's rate was 6.9-percent.

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