A Region 8 Business Lays Off a Number of Employees

January 25, 2005 -- Posted 6:15 p.m. CST

Jonesboro, AR -- In recent months, 2 Jonesboro factories, General Electric and Haworth, have announced company closures. Now layoffs at another Jonesboro factory have some wondering whether this is an economic trend, or just a bump in the road.

Since 1957 Colson Caster Corporation has been a fixture in Jonesboro. Today it's one of the few remaining caster manufacturing companies in the United States, but in recent months business has been slow. Unfortunately slow business results in a smaller workforce.

"After the first of the year, first week in January, we did have to layoff about 21 hourly employees," said human resource manager Darrell Pickney.

Pickney says these layoffs were a result of a few factors. On the top of the list: competitive pressure from other countries like China who continue to export cheaper goods.

"I can't speak for the company, but I can tell you myself that yes we need a level playing field," said Pickney.

In the meantime, employees here at Colson are still plugging away, but wondering if maybe their own job is in jeopardy.

"I haven't seen it this slow since I've been here," said Colson employee Bruce Ruffin. "We're concerned where the business has gone and I know everybody would sure want to see it come back."

Management says that's a definite possibility considering the strong workforce they have in place.

"Morale has gone down a little bit but there is some good people in the plant and we'll survive," said Ruffin.

Despite those recent layoffs, management at Colson does not anticipate additional layoffs in the future. In fact, they believe this will be a viable company for years to come. Colson says when business picks up, it hopes to call-back those laid-off workers.