One of the largest employers in Auburn is announcing a small lay off. 19 workers are out of a job at Briggs and Stratton. Economic developers say in the short term, this news is bad. However, in the long term, it could be good.
Briggs and Stratton is one of East Alabama's largest employers. 600 workers clock in every day at the Auburn plant, building gas engines for outdoor power tools like lawn mowers and generators. Monday, Fox 54 confirmed 19 of those workers are now out of a job.
Harold Smith, the Auburn plant manager says the layoff is a direct effect of the phase out of an old engine design.
"Right now they have phased out an old line going to have a small layoff but the are brining in a new line that we think down the road is going to be a great boom," said Cary Cox, Director of Work Force Development at the city of Auburn.
Cox believes the layoff is temporary. He says Briggs and Stratton has purchased a new product with plans of manufacturing it at the Auburn facility. The Auburn plant manager says demand for the new product is lower than expected, due to the lack of weather related events. Meaning there have been no hurricanes resulting in the mass purchase of generators. Cox is optimistic demand will increase, and more jobs will be created.
"It is bad news for those 19 families that get notice that they are being laid off. It's bad when you get that. But in the grand scheme of the economy this is good news. They are making room for some new jobs and we see this is as a positive for economic development," he said.