NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas -

The latest jobless figures for New Braunfels dropped to 5.5 percent, 6 percent in Comal County, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

But those unemployment rates were for February, ahead of the mass lay-offs at the Scooter Store, what had been the city's largest employer.

Rusty Brockman, economic development director at the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, said due to the Scooter Store's 1,200 lay-offs, the local jobless rate next quarter could jump to 7 per cent.

"That would be the highest I can recall," Brockman said.

However, he said New Braunfels is in a better position now to absorb those losses thanks to a stronger, more diverse economy.

He said the area has seen growth in tourism, health care, manufacturing and other job sectors.

"We hope we'll be able to say by mid-June or July that it went up, but it's going back down," Brockman said in referring to the unemployment rate.

He said former Scooter Store employees or anyone else looking for work can meet at least 100 area employers at a job fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the New Braunfels Civic Center.

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