Lower gas prices are a welcome relief for drivers in Tyler, Smith County and East TX. When this happened in the 80’s, a devastating effect on the local economy. drilling decreased, employment numbers dropped, which led to a drop in the real estate market. We are in a similar situation now as in the 80’s, but now the economy is more diversified, according to Tom Mullins, CEO Tyler Economic Development Council. Yes, some have been laid off, but they seem to find other jobs or can weather it out till oil prices return.