The unemployment rate in the Bluegrass is about to get bigger. Two Central Kentucky companies announced layoffs Friday, affecting hundreds of workers.
Komatsu is the world's second largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment. The closing of its manufacturing operation in Lexington will put 117 employees out of work.
Employee Jonathan Porter says the mood inside the plant was about what you would expect.
"Not great. You've got a lot of guys who have been here 20 or 25 years. It's really hard on them. I've been here 5 years. That's hard enough," he said.
Porter always thought his job at Komatsu was recession proof.
"Honestly, I never thought this would happen to us. I thought we would be able to sustain what we do. It's been a great place to work," he said.
Komatsu executives said the recessionary environment and the resulting decrease in demand for products were the reasons for the closing.
Meanwhile in Winchester, Ainak Inc., which provides parts for the automotive industry, will transfer the molding process being done there to its facilities in China and Indonesia. Only 33 of the 123 full-time employees will stay in Clark County to continue support functions.
All full time employees at both Central Kentucky companies are being offered severance packages. The job cuts should be complete by Fall of this year.