London Manufacturing Plant Cuts One Hundred Jobs

A London company is downsizing and that's leaving many looking for work. The downsizing is sending economic ripples not only through Laurel County, but through much of Eastern Kentucky.

Highlands Diversified is in the final stage of a downsizing in which it is eliminating about 100 jobs at its London manufacturing plant.

"It's devastating to a community to lose this number of jobs all at one time," said Dennis Karr, Industrial Development Director.

Karr says he gets resumes every day from manufacturing workers looking for work. Karr says when jobs are lost here, it's felt in several counties.

"London has been for 10 to 15 years, the place where most people in Southeast Kentucky work," Karr said.

One woman, who lost her job at Highlands Diversified about a week ago, says she's looking for a job, but can't find many that pay over minimum wage. That's just not enough to support a family. She says she'll probably have to relocate and move away from London.

There could be a silver lining. Karr thinks having so many workers out of job right now could actually make London attractive to a company that's considering moving here.

"So there could be a bright spot by landing a manufacturing company. We do have available labor here," Karr said.

Karr won't release the name of the company yet, but it promises about 150 jobs and possibly up to 400 jobs in the years to come.

Highlands Diversified's general manager says it had to downsize because it lost its contract with Midsouth Electronics in Jackson County. He says because the company gave employees notice months ago, many workers have been able to find other jobs already.

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