Pink slips hit Newton factory
July 24, 2001
Difficult times in the U.S. economy filtered down to the town of Newton the other day when 160 workers at the La-Z-Boy assembly plant got their pink slips. Company officials blamed a weak economy and poor sales in the retail furniture market.
With the employment level at the plant directly connected to sales, it's not hard to see why the action was necessary. Attrition could not account for all of the positions lost due to the downturn and officials hope the fall season is stronger.
As a corporation, La-Z-Boy's sales jumped from $1 billion in fiscal 1997 to $2.2 billion in 2001 a 126 percent increase. Profits climbed from $45.3 million in 1997 to $87.6 million in 2000, before dropping off to $68.3 million in 2001 as a result of the downturn in the nation's economy.
Hopefully, as the economy improves, some of these laid-off workers can be brought back. But this is another indication that east Mississippi and area businesses share the pressures of the global economy. Our companies, and the workers who do their jobs every day, are not immune.