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Unemployment brings new challenges

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

January 27 , 2009

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Companies large and small are laying off workers everyday. Thomas County is now being hit hard. The latest hit came yesterday when Caterpillar announced job cuts, and the community is worried about the future of one of its largest employers.

You don't have to remind Cameron Dupree that the economy is in a downward spiral... she knows first hand.

"I'm not really in the frame of mind to look for another job but I know that I've got to," said Dupree.

That's because without warning, she was laid off from her job at the Thomas Grady Service Center.

When I found her she was sitting in her car outside the Department of Labor office, upset, and dreading the walk inside.

"I didn't think that I would be back on unemployment."

But she is not alone. Many other Thomas County jobs are at stake or have already been taken away.

Caterpillar announced they will cut 20,000 jobs nationwide. The Thomasville plant would not confirm how many people were laid off there, but an employee we spoke with told us he knew of at least 35 jobs.

And with Goody's stores closing nationwide, Thomasville's store will have to lay off 13.

Worst of all, if Southwestern State Hospital shuts down as planned, more than 800 people will be out of work.

"It makes me worried that all these companies are closing. Emotionally I've gone through anger, sadness, and a lot of tears."

But she says her worry is overcome by hope and faith in God. And she has encouraging words for others going through her same situation. "He's going to get us through it, and the economy is going to come back up and we're all going to be just fine."

Hope for change that this county, and our country, need. Georgia's unemployment rate is currently at 8.1%.

Thomas County is below the state average, only 6.4% are looking for work.

But the labor department expects that number to rise when their new numbers come out later this week.

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