Mississippi Co. reacts to more layoffs

Mississippi Co. reacts to more layoffs

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - TMK Ipsco is the latest steel producer in Mississippi County to layoff part of its workforce.

Mississippi County Economic Developer Clif Chitwood said the company laid off about 80 of its employees.

"We have 3 companies in Mississippi County that make pipe for the oil and gas field," Chitwood said. "All of them have announced layoffs, which is unfortunate but it's not surprising."

Chitwood said the layoffs aren't only happening in Region 8.

"It's been pretty uniform across the board," Chitwood said. "Most of the companies have laid off about 30 percent of their people."

Lower gas prices may be welcome news to consumers, but it is not beneficial to companies.

"There are roughly about 2,300 oil drilling rigs available in the United States and Canada, only about 1,300 of those are actively seeking oil and gas," Chitwood said. "New pipe gets used when they're doing more drilling and right now they're not doing much drilling."

For those out of work right now, Chitwood said things could turn around by this summer.

"There will be a massive number of construction jobs available on the Big River Steel project," Chitwood said.

Copyright 2015 KAIT. All rights reserved.