Manufacturing community helps to keep Seguin above water during pandemic

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

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Seguin, TX, USA / Seguin Today

Cindy Aguirre


(Seguin) – It looks as though the city of Seguin, when compared to other surrounding communities, has “dodged a massive bullet” when it comes to the economic impact of COVID-19. Although some say things are far from over, Josh Schneuker, the executive director of the Seguin Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), says at least for now, he is confident in the city’s current position.

Much of that positive position Schneuker says can be attributed to its solid manufacturing foundation.

“Looking back especially at some of the unemployment numbers from May and June, we recorded – at least all the records I could trace down – we recorded the highest unemployment rate that the city of Seguin ever recorded and that was back in May. That was at a 15 percent unemployment rate and that was really the result of some furloughs that we were made aware of at some of our major employers throughout town but we’ve slowly started to make improvement. For the past couple of months, we’ve been hovering about 7.3 and 7.4 percent for our unemployment rate for the city of Seguin. That is really on par with what we are also seeing in terms of the county’s unemployment rate, but we are also faring better than the state average, the national average for an unemployment rate. So, I think that really kind of correlates to the fact that we do have a lot of manufacturing here in the community. There were slow downs as a result of COVID and a lot of that had to do with supply chain disruption and in some cases, some of the companies were feeling impasse from lack of consumer demand on some products but then there were other companies that actually informed us that they are having some of the best business that they’ve seen in a while,” said Schneuker.

Schneuker says at least for this round, Seguin’s manufacturing community has been able to stand tall.

“It could have been a much different story. You know when you look at some communities that are really dependent on retail and tourism, they are still hurting and there is still a lot of folks that are still laid off that might be laid off in the foreseeable future just simply because those industries – it’s proven to be much harder to reopen a lot of those industries and we are still at, with a lot of the mandates with the state on restaurants and bars and things like that, operating at continued limited capacity and folks not traveling as much. With our economy having a lot of manufacturing and a lot of diverse manufacturing within Seguin, it really has helped us out I think, kind of take a few punches, I guess is the best way to put it but be able to remain on our feet and stay resilient through this whole thing,” said Schneuker.

Schneuker says the label of a manufacturing town might not have always sounded interesting for some, but believes that people are now really getting to see the benefits of that title. He says that’s because staying afloat these last few months has not only allowed the city to keep its momentum but it has also allowed more people to keep their jobs.

“We are aware of communities within the region that are going to be experiencing budget shortfalls for next year and because we have been able to keep a lot of our economy open because they were really deemed essential during a lot of the shut downs that you saw in March and April and portions of May, we are still able as a city to do our business and move forward and collect those revenues and reinvest them into the community. It’s really important to have, I think, an economy that is diversified and I know that we hear we have a lot of manufacturing here in Seguin. Now, I think it’s one in three jobs in the community is in manufacturing but in a scenario like this and really a scenario that nobody would have predicted kind of occurring, it’s kind of actually played in our favor a little bit to have all of this manufacturing and I think it’s going to keep us afloat. We are likely going to improve much sooner than some of our neighbors and be in a better position to respond to the needs of the community as a result of all of this,” said Schneuker.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also reportedly not impacted the construction of current projects in the city. Schneuker says all plans are still moving forward.

“We are still really on track. Two of the main projects that you’ll see right off Interstate 10 with Continental Structural Plastics and United Alloy, both of those, the construction continued through the pandemic. It really hasn’t impacted the plans for those companies and their operations. So, it’s really interesting. Of course, nobody was immune from effects of what was going on with the pandemic but we are in a situation where I think we dodged a massive bullet in terms of mass layoffs within the community and super high unemployment rate, but we are also in a position where we are going to be bringing on new employers, being able to add new jobs and also jobs that are going to be well paying and have very solid career pathways to them also. So I think with all the uncertainty, really throughout the state and the country as it relates to COVID, I really think we are in a bright spot here in Seguin and we are really excited to continue to move forward with a lot of the positive momentum that we have,” said Schneuker.

Schneuker says not only has the city been able to continue to track progress on current projects, but it has also been able to welcome a new manufacturing partner, Coffee Tech Industries, to Seguin.

“That’s the case of a sector within manufacturing that – I’m not going to say is immune to a pandemic but folks need their coffee regardless of what’s going on and we are able to capitalize and work with this company and it’s going to be another I think win for the city to have another big name company come in and set up shop and have well paying jobs in the community that hopefully can endure things like this in the future if it happens again,” said Schneuker.

SEDC officials say Seguin currently has three times the amount of manufacturing jobs when compared to the national average.

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Category: Manufacturing, Covid19, news

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