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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, June 08, 2019 1:00 am

Furthermore ...

State's rising layoff numbers offer sobering contrast

Brotherhood Mutual's plan to hire 100 employees in Fort Wayne tempers the news that Penske Logistics will close its Fort Wayne operations and lay off 80 employees. But news of a spike in layoffs statewide is worrisome.

The Times of Northwest Indiana reports the number of mass layoffs in May exceeded the number of job cuts announced from January through April.

Six employers notified the Indiana Department of Workforce Development they would eliminate a combined total of 1,170 positions.

The federal Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN, requires an employer to give at least a 60-day notice of intention to lay off more than 50 employees during a 30-day period as part of a plant closing.

The WARN Act also requires employers to provide notice of any mass layoff outside of a plant closing if it will result in the loss of 500 or more employees during any 30-day period.

In the first four months of the year, a total of six employers in Indiana announced 1,023 layoffs statewide, according to the state.

In addition to Penske, the May layoffs include Fayette Regional Health Systems in Connersville, which announced it would lay off 437 as it shuts down operations. The small health system filed for bankruptcy and failed to find a buyer to take it over.

In Plainfield, Ryder Integrated Logistics announced it will cut 436 jobs when it closes. The company lost a contract.

The good news for those affected, of course, is that a 3.6% unemployment rate in Indiana makes a job search much less daunting. But the spike in layoffs shouldn't be overlooked.