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JLG Industries, Fulton County's largest employer, to begin layoffs in August

July 16, 2008|By DON AINES

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. -- The weakening construction rental market in North America and Europe has hit Fulton County's largest employer, as JLG Industries told employees on Friday it will begin layoffs in August.

The company would not confirm how many people will be laid off, but Kirsten Skyba, JLG's vice president for global marketing, said it will affect production and salaried employees at all of its facilities, including McConnellsburg, Shippensburg, Pa., Bedford, Pa., and Oaks, N.D., as well as France and Belgium.

An employee with the manufacturer of aerial work platforms and telehandlers said the company planned to reduce the work force in McConnellsburg by 250 to 270 people in three phases between Aug. 1 and Sept. 26. The company also told workers there would be partial shutdowns this Thursday and Friday, as well as for four days in August, the employee said.

"It's in response to market conditions," Skyba said Tuesday. Citing the soft market for construction rental equipment, she said the reductions are an effort to "right-size the company to align it with the current market conditions."

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JLG Industries, owned by Oshkosh Corp. based in Oshkosh, Wis., employs approximately 4,500 people globally, with more than 3,500 of them working in its North American operations, Skyba said. The layoffs will begin in early August and continue through late September, she said.

"I got a call from a supplier today that JLG is pulling back in some of the work it has scheduled," Franklin County Area Development Corp. President L. Michael Ross said. That Franklin County parts supplier "kind of anticipated that might happen," Ross said.

The company has been trying to adjust its production so a slowdown by JLG would not significantly affect its business, Ross said. A downturn at JLG, however, could have a ripple effect in Franklin County, he said.

"JLG in Franklin County is kind of the elephant in the room that nobody talks about," Ross said. "Their presence is here, but they're not here. Their supply chain is."

Skyba would not say how many people are employed at the McConnellsburg plant because the number changes.

In January 2006, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell visited the plant to announce state support for an expansion. At that time, company officials said about 2,200 people worked in McConnellsburg and another 200 worked in Shippensburg.

Company officials at that time said the $4.8 million in grants announced by Rendell would be part of an expansion program that was to add more than 500 jobs between the two facilities.

Wendy Melius, executive director of the Fulton County Industrial Development Association, said her office was informed of the impending layoffs by JLG.

The employment and training office for the county also was notified, and a Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Rapid Response Coordination Services Team will be working with affected employees for job search and training services, she said.

Job losses



The following Tri-State area employers have laid off workers in recent months:

· Volvo Powertain, Hagerstown, 59 layoffs in June and 99 layoffs in April

· AB&C Group, Eastern Panhandle, W.Va., about 400 layoffs in March

· Rayloc, Hancock, 260 layoffs in March

· Fujicolor Processing Inc., Williamsport, 125 layoffs in March

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