In addition to helping facilitate the creation of 500 new jobs by Finisar Corp. last week, the Sherman Economic Development Corp. recently approved an incentive agreement that will create six more new jobs in the city.
The day before Finisar announced its expansion into the former MEMC building on the city’s south side and its partnership with Apple, SEDCO’s board of directors approved a $30,000 incentive for local manufacturer Robit that will see the drilling bit company create six new positions at its local facility over the next 18 months.
“It’s a small project, but it’s six additional jobs, so that’s all positive,” SEDCO Executive Vice President Frank Gadek said.
Robit purchased the manufacturing assets of Halco International in January and subsequently took over its 40,000-square-foot-manufacturing facility in Sherman’s Midway Industrial Park.
The SEDCO agreement will see the corporation award Robit two $15,000 incentives, one after three employees are hired and the second after the other three are hired. Gadek said the incentive agreement runs through the end of June 2019.
“That (works out to) $5,000 a job,” Gadek said. “That gives us about a 42 percent return on our investment.”
Halco was previously owned by private equity company Regent, who acquired Halco from Caterpillar in 2014. In addition to the U.S., Robit has manufacturing sites located in Finland, South Korea, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Gadek said with the Sherman area’s currently unemployment rate — last reported at 2.9 percent for October — it’s not the best time for a company to be looking for employees.
“I think it makes it more challenging for the employers,” Gadek said. “But the demand is there.”
The Texas Workforce Commission’s unemployment report last month came as the region has remained in a state of “full employment” — where the vast majority of all job seekers have found employment — for more than a year. The latest decrease in unemployment came one month after TWC marked a half-percent drop in the local unemployment rate when it fell to 3.2 percent. At the time, local economic developers said it was the lowest unemployment rate in over 20 years. With November’s report, Workforce Solutions Texoma Executive Director Janie Bates said it is the lowest unemployment rate she has seen in at least 40 years.
“I can’t remember when it was that low,” Gadek said. “That’s not only Sherman, that translates to a low rate in Grayson County, translates to a Texas low rate and to the U.S. as well. It means the economy is growing and the jobs haven’t caught up with the demand.”