Spartan Light Metal Products, an engine parts manufacturer, is citing the economic downturn due to the new coronavirus as its reason behind laying off just over 400 employees at its Mexico and Hannibal locations.
The Mexico operation will lose 332 employees as part of the layoff, which Spartan expects will be temporary, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act letter sent to the Missouri Department Higher Education and Workforce Development.
Spartan office staff were not available for comment late Friday afternoon.
Layoffs started Thursday in Mexico and Monday in Hannibal. There are 72 employees affected in the Hannibal mass layoff.
Those affected were not union employees, according to the notice. Employment seniority rights are not affected in the mass layoff, the notice said.
Positions cut run the gamut from administrative to engineering, including a company vice president.
The combined layoffs are the second-largest by a single company since March 16, when the department began receiving a large number of mass layoff notices. The largest was at Trans State Airlines, LLC, which laid off 718 employees.
In all, 2,695 workers subject to the notice have been put out of jobs since March 16.
The WARN Act became law in 1988 to provide workers and states notice of pending mass layoffs.
The job losses follow an increasing pattern across the state and the U.S. There were 42,207 new unemployment compensation claims in Missouri last week, while claims topped 3.3 million in the nation.
In contrast to current economic estimates, the economy lost about 2.6 million jobs in 2008 during the first year of the Great Recession, according to the U.S Labor Department.
There are some bright spots in the economic picture.
Some retailers are on a hiring push due. Dollar General wants to hire 50,000 people, joining other outlets such as Hy-Vee, Walmart, Amazon and CVS, which also have issued calls for workers.
Columbia Chamber of Commerce president Matt McCormick told the Colmbia Tribune that during the tumult of a changing job market that the community should visit its website for resources on COVID-19 and employment information.
“We just launched a resource page on our website with information regarding COVID-19, and it also has a form where businesses can update their own policy information” he said. “It’s also open to anybody, you don’t have to be a member, and we’re telling people that businesses can also post whether they are hiring.”
Those looking for work, or businesses looking to hire, should investigate jobs.mo.gov as a means to connect, he said. The portal is a resource provided by Missouri’s Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.