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Downstream layoffs keep pouring in: WARNs [update]

Apr 09, 2020 | 01:57 PM | New York | Dom Yanchunas

Tags  labor, layoffs, WARN, plant closing, Scott Paul, Dom Yanchunas

The intensifying Covid-19 crisis has triggered a tsunami of layoffs in metals-consuming sectors, including automotive, energy, food-service equipment and other manufacturing in the United States, according to Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications (WARNs) filed to state labor departments.

At least nine of the companies reported that the locations were permanently closing, although not all of those shutdowns were attributed to impacts from the pandemic. 

The United States had lost 18,000 jobs as of the March report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, noted that the bureau's tally took place in mid-March, before the height of the job-loss warnings that followed the suspension of production at non-essential businesses. Paul said the nation's manufacturers will need wide-ranging support, including a large government infrastructure investment and further protections against import competition. 

"There will be no easy way out of this crisis for millions of Americans, and this jobs report reflected just the very start of the collapse," Paul said in a press release on Friday April 3. "The relief package passed by Congress may allow some businesses and families to tread water for a while, but much more needs to be done."  

Many of the most severe job losses have come from companies that supply the automotive industry, after most major North American automakers suspended production until at least mid-to-late April.

Energy has been another hard-hit sector, after a price war broke out between Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and Americans slowed gasoline consumption because most were staying home. West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell to below $20 per barrel in March, and the US rig count plunged by 108 in just two weeks to 664 as of Friday, according to Baker Hughes. 

The following layoff announcements - totaling at least 11,416 nationwide - were specified in publicly accessible WARN letters to state labor and work-force agencies over the past month.


  • Benteler Automotive, a producer of chassis and exhaust systems, stated that as many as 1,018 employees in Michigan and 162 in Indiana could be temporarily laid off.
  • Kirkhoff Automotive, a stamper that produces frames, bumpers, cross beams and floor assemblies, said it would temporarily lay off 338 employees in Tecumseh, Michigan; 300 at Manchester, Tennessee; 225 at Waverly, Ohio, and 148 in Dallas. 
  • MasterGuard, which makes motor vehicle bodies, reported that it is temporarily laying off 680 people in Veedersburg, Indiana.
  • General Aluminum Manufacturing has laid off 531 workers at three Ohio plants. The plant produces cast and machined knuckles, pump housings, transmission components, oil pans and engine covers.
  • Busche Performance Group, a provider of casting and machining for chassis, powertrain and other components, said it would lay off 450 people at three Indiana plants. 
  • Spartan Light Metal Products, a die-cast provider, announced the temporary layoff of 404 employees at two locations in Missouri. 
  • Piolax, which makes metal and plastic fasteners, warned that it would lay off 359 employees at its Canton, Georgia, plant. 
  • A furlough of 339 workers was announced at Keystone Powdered Metal in St. Marys, Pennsylvania. The company is a machine shop that produces bearings, sprockets and gears.
  • Engineered Sintered Components, which machines and heat-treats powdered-metal components, said it initiated a temporary layoff of 292 employees at Troutman, North Carolina. 
  • BWI Group, which produces original-equipment suspension and brake systems and powertrain mounts, shut down its operations at Greenfield, Indiana. A total of 336 workers were affected - 172 permanent employees and 164 temporary help. The company said it hopes to recall the employees when its customers are operating again.  
  • Autoform Tool & Mfg, a maker of stainless steel fuel injectors, manifold and piping components, was scheduled to temporarily lay off 240 workers at Angola, Indiana, as of April 3.  
  • Taiho Corp of America, a provider of engine bearings, bushings and shoes, said it would lay off 229 at its plants at Tiffin, Ohio. Two plants will have no production this week, according to daily Covid-19 updates on the company's website. 
  • Metal forming specialist Matsu Ohio, a producer of light-weight assemblies, said it laid off 170 workers at Edgerton, Ohio. 
  • Ross Casting & Innovation, which produces aluminium components including turbocharger compressor wheels, temporarily suspended production at Sidney, Ohio, idling its 167 employees. 
  • Fuel pump maker Carter Fuel Systems said it planned to lay off 128 employees at Logansport, Indiana, around April 1, but it may begin calling people back starting on Monday April 13. 
  • Aludyne, which casts and machines aluminium knuckles, said it would lay off 115 people at its Warren, Michigan, facility. 
  • Aftermarket fuel pump maker ASC Airtex laid off about 88 employees in North Canton, Ohio, on April 1. The company may start recalling workers beginning on Monday April 20.
  • Ohio Star Forge in Warren, Ohio, said it temporarily stopped production on March 30, affecting 88 employees. The company supplies cold-roll-formed items for automotive suppliers and fasteners, sleeves, collars and bushings for oil-and-gas customers. 
  • Busche Performance Group, which provides casting and machining, is temporarily layoff off 75 people at Edon, Ohio. 
  • Findlay, Ohio-based GSW Manufacturing, which makes wire harnesses, said it would temporarily lay off 55 employees.
  • Consolidated Metal Products, the world's largest manufacturer of high-strength, cold-formed U-bolts, said it would lay off 52 workers until Friday April 17.
  • Murotech Ohio, a St. Marys, Ohio, provider of stamping and grinding, announced a "temporary and possible permanent layoff" of 52 people.  

Oil and Gas

  • Kemper Valve & Fittings, a supplier of pressure pipe items, is downsizing at Island Lake, Illinois; 110 employees will be laid off starting in June.
  • Houston machining and coating shop Watson Grinding & Manufacturing said it will lay off 88 people. 
  • Veritas Shop Fabrication, which assembles midstream processing equipment, is laying off 67 workers in Smith County, Texas.  

Aerospace, Maritime, Defense
  • Northrop Grumman, which makes products ranging from satellites to cannons in Arizona, warned of 240 layoffs in that state. 
  • Universal Aerospace said it would temporarily lay off 150 people at Arlington, Washington. The company provides precision machining, sheet metal and turning work. 
  • HII San Diego Shipyard in California announced a permanent layoff of 67 people scheduled for May.  
  • Aircraft parts provider Wencor Group said it would lay off 54 people at Waycross, Georgia. 

Building and Construction
  • Quality Air Heating and Cooling, a producer of heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, temporarily furloughed 112 workers at Grand Rapids, Michigan. 
  • MDavis, a provider of mechanical construction and fabrication, said it is laying off 105 employees at Wilmington, Delaware.  
  • Cornerstone Building Brands, a maker of metal panels, roofing and other accessories, announced a permanent closure in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. One hundred jobs will be lost.
  • M&M Manufacturing, which produces sheet metal for HVAC usages, said it would lay off 43 in Tarrant County, Texas. 
Food and Appliances 
  • Sub-Zero Group, a producer of luxury refrigerators and other appliances, said two plants in Wisconsin would shut down for about a month, affecting 1,046 employees. 
  • Refrigerator manufacturer Norcold laid off a total of 345 people at two Ohio plants, with plans to recall "the majority" after that state's stay-at-home order is lifted. 
  • Crescent Metal Products in Mentor, Ohio, temporarily laid off 92 people. The company produces metal cabinets, ovens, racks and dollies for food-service end uses.
  • Chapter 2 Inc, a machine and tool shop in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, serving agriculture and food service, announced a brief layoff of 26 people. 

Forges, Foundries, Machining, Tooling
  • Toolmaker Western Forge in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said it will close its doors after existing customer orders are completed, with the loss of 182 jobs. 
  • Castwell Products, an iron foundry in Skokie, Illinois, since 1905, said it will permanently close, with 149 employees being let go in June. 
  • Barberton, Ohio, hand-tool forge Wright Tool said 140 were laid off in March. At the time, the return date was expected to be April 7.
  • Screw machine shop T&L Automatics in Rochester, New York, announced a temporary layoff of 111. 
  • Stroh Die Cast said it will permanently close two facilities in Mauston, Wisconsin, in May. Seventy-one full-time employees will be affected. The company was founded in 1903.
  • Global Gear LLC, a machine shop in Downers Grove, Illinois, specializing in gears and pulleys, has laid off 49 employees. 
  • Reynolds Machine Co in New Berlin, Wisconsin, laid off 36 of its 82 employees at the end of March. The company said it expected the furloughs to be temporary.  

Other Manufacturing
  • Haynes International announced a temporary layoff of 392 out of its total of 765 at two plants in Kokomo, Indiana. The company produces nickel- and cobalt-based alloys for high-temperature applications in aerospace, gas turbines and chemical processing. 
  • Rexnord Industries, a maker of metal conveyors, roller systems and related parts, said it will permanently close a manufacturing plant in Grafton, Wisconsin, by the end of the year. It will result in the termination of 140 employees.  
  • Littelfuse said about 125 jobs would be eliminated in Rapid City, South Dakota, between July 2020 and February 2021. The provider of circuit protection products and electronic switches said it is shifting its manufacturing operation to Mexico. 
  • Steel and aluminium pressure-vessel and cylinder producer Manchester Tank & Equipment stated that it will permanently close its facility in Bedford, Indiana, with the loss of 117 jobs by September. 
  • Metal Matic, a producer of mechanical, drawn-over-mandrel, hydraulic and boiler tubing, is temporarily laying off 87 workers at Bedford Park, Illinois. 
  • Columbus McKinnon, a maker of hoists and other material handling components, plans to permanently close its plant in Lisbon, Ohio, by November. The total number of workers is 69, with layoffs beginning in May. 
  • Precision Resource, which provides fineblanking to diverse industries, said it would lay off 51 people at its Shelton, Connecticut, plant for two weeks in April. 
  • Haven Manufacturing, a tube-cutting and finishing shop in Brunswick, Georgia, laid off 11 people.
Editor's Note: This story was updated on Thursday April 9 to clarify the status of Global Gear's operations following a clerical error in Illinois' WARN system. The company is not shut down. 


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