Recent Plant Closings Strike Blow To Moore County's Economy
Posted November 18, 2002 4:58 a.m. EST
MOORE COUNTY, N.C. — When people think of Moore County, big homes and golf courses come to mind. However, the county is taking a hit of a different sort from the manufacturing industry.
Oakwood Homes recently announced it was closing its plant in Moore County. It will be the third plant closing in recent weeks. In just two weeks, Intek in Aberdeen announced it was closing as well as the Perdue plant in Robbins. All together, 600 jobs will be gone, which is 14 percent of the manufacturing workforce in the county.
Employment leaders said Moore County cannot absorb all the jobs.
"Many will need to rethink the type of work they are doing. They'll need to be retrained. Many will have to relocate," Mickey Elliot, director of the Employment Security Commission.
The layoffs are especially hard for the employees at Oakwood Homes. They went to work Thursday morning and by lunchtime, they were told to go home.
Dale Dixon, 42, worked at Oakwood Homes for 13 years. As a production manager, he made over $60,000 a year. Now, he is willing to drive up to an hour and a half just to find a decent paying job.
"You expect them to take care of you after you provide blood, sweat and tears for all that went on there," he said. "I've been from one unemployment office to another unemployment office. It's a hard time. A lot of people don't hire before the holidays, but I'll keep digging and hopefully find something."
Retraining may not come easy for the workers. Elliot said most of the retraining funds have already been spent. Officials say there are many retail jobs available in Moore County, but at a fraction of the salary.