Despite major manufacturer Van Husen closing last spring, the number of jobs in Dale County have increased over the last year.
Ozark’s Van Husen on Roy Parker Road closed its doors for good this May, which put about 600 people out of the job.
However, officials say the county has rebounded from the loss.
Elaine Spencer says she's lucky. She was at work at C & S Doors the day after the closing of her former employer, Van Husen.
"When they announced that they were closing the doors, I was very worried about getting a job,” she says. “So, I have a girlfriend at C&S Doors, and she knew how concerned I was because of what I went through in the past. I came up and put in an application. I talked with Ray, and he asked when could I start? I told him I wanted to at least take a month off, but I didn't. Van Husen closed on the 7th, and I started working on the 8th. So, I was truly blessed."
However, Spencer's story isn't like all employees.
When the plant shut down, about 600 people were forced to find new jobs.
Although the company and federal government offered unemployment benefits and training help, finding a new place to work was still a struggle for some people.
The good news however, is officials say job numbers in the county are now up.
"The city of Ozark has recovered from those losses. As a matter of fact, we are now plus 300 people," says Ozark Mayor, Bob Bunting.
Even though the number of jobs has been created to make up the number of jobs that were lost with the closing of the Van Husen plant, Ozark is still left with an empty building.
"We've had several major companies to look at it, but, thus far, nobody has shown a lot of interest in it," says Mayor Bunting.
Even though the numbers are up for jobs in the county, Dale County still has a larger unemployment rating compared to surrounding areas.
The unemployment rate is around 5.1 percent.
Last year, that rate was 4.3 percent
Officials credit the number of jobs in Dale County to new businesses coming in, and growth at Fort Rucker.
Ozark leaders say Bell-Arrow Helicopter, C & S Door and Dyn-Atlantic were major contributors to the job increase.
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