Every year tourists flood to Jackson and this summer is no different, but even when tourism is strong the job market is not.
It has been slow getting into the season.
?We had some nasty spring weather, we had a very long winter season,? said Mark Barron, the Mayor of Jackson.
Now the Summer season is in full swing and the tourists are here.
“This is an area people are attracted to and want to come, and I think that’s been and continues to be a strong force in our economy,” said Colleen Dubbe, Manager of the Jackson Work Force.
So strong that it survived the economic downturn in 2008.
?The tourism side has done pretty darn well,? said Barron.
But all of the jobs did not make it.
?We lost a couple of thousand jobs and we have not seen a majority of those jobs come back. People and business tightened up and many businesses closed their doors,? said Barron.
The official unemployment rate in Jackson is 9.2%, nearly five times what it was only three years ago.
But Smokey Rhea, the Executive Director of the Community Resource Center does not think that number accurately reflects the community.
?I don’t even think it’s close,? said Rhea. ?I would venture to guess it’s probably twice as much.?
According to the Jackson Work Force Center youth workers have almost no problem finding jobs.
It’s the professionals that have been hit hardest, especially Real Estate and Construction work.
Jobs are coming back, but slowly.
“I think we’re making the turnaround, it’s still a slow road that we have ahead of us.”
And Rhea thinks holding onto the community, is key.
?People who have been here and invested their heart and soul in Teton County, it’s important to keep them here,? said Rhea.