NEW HAVEN — More bad economic news for Mason County arrived on Thursday.
Felman Production, of New Haven, which temporarily suspended operations on June 28 due to challenging ferrosilicomanganese market conditions, announced it has been forced to lay off approximately 100 employees, effective Aug. 31.
According to a press release from the company, Felman has been carefully monitoring market conditions since its shutdown and its decision to further reduce its workforce is a direct result of persisting low ferrosilicomanganese prices and high manufacturing costs. The company previously laid off 38 employees in May. Approximately 100 employees will remain employed at the plant following these latest layoffs. Felman will continue to operate its slag processing operation.
There is some hope on the horizon, with Felman saying it is currently reviewing a number of options to ensure the company’s long term viability. The press release added the plant will continue to implement cost control initiatives and conduct plant-wide maintenance in preparation to restart its furnaces once the market environment has improved.
“It’s sad they are laying people off,” Mason County Commission President Rick Handley said on Wednesday. “These are Mason County people as well as those across the river.”
Handley’s statement underscores the fact the lay offs will affect not only Mason County but likely Meigs County, Ohio as well. As so often happens, when manufacturing takes a hit in one county in the tri-county region, it has a ripple effect.
Handley said a Felman spokesperson had contacted him personally on Tuesday to alert him of the recent decision. Handley added he was also told Felman would be working with WorkForce West Virginia to assist those affected in anyway possible. WorkForceWV assists those who have recently lost their jobs with obtaining unemployment benefits and seeking employment opportunities.
“Hopefully they can work something out in the near future to open the facility again at full capacity,” Handley said.
Back in June, Felman said it would reevaluate market conditions to determine whether operations will resume earlier or if the plant will remain closed for an additional period of time — this means the lay offs were not a shock but no less unwanted.
Felman, which did employ over 200 individuals, produces ferrosilicomanganese, an essential deoxidizer and alloy additive used in the manufacturing of steel.