Closing Plant to Layoff 500 Jobs
Layoffs at the plant, which makes small engines for things like lawn mowers and other outdoor equipment, will begin in a couple of months and continue throughout the year. The Briggs and Stratton Corporation sales were down 10% because of less demand for lawn and garden equipment. This problem caused the shut-down, but the loss of so many jobs poses a bigger problem for the Rolla area.
"There's no doubt the loss of 450 jobs, everything from unskilled to semi-skilled, skilled to the office staff is a blow to any economy, not just to Rolla, but to the surrounding region," said John Butz, Rolla City Administrator.
None of the employees KOMU spoke with wanted to do an on camera interview, but their reactions were all similar- they were at a loss for words. Briggs and Stratton is working with the employees to help them find other jobs at a plant in Poplar Bluff. Losing a major employer like Briggs and Stratton is hard for any community, but the City of Rolla hopes to find them jobs as quickly as possible.
"Fortunately, Rolla's got a solid economy and a strong market, we've got a lot of good employers, we've got a lot of great employees. And so we hope those positions can be absorbed in the community," said Butz.
The city plans to hold a job fair for the Briggs and Stratton employees within a couple of months.