The Norman Transcript

Opinion

October 11, 2013

We’ve been here before

NORMAN — The layoffs at Cheseapeake Energy Corp. will impact the local economy, but it’s not the first time a major employer in central Oklahoma has reduced its payroll. In the past, however, most of the cuts have been in the manufacturing sector.

The General Motors plant closing in 2006 was expected for several years. Even as the local plant was modified for better-selling models, GM insiders knew the plant couldn’t stay open forever.

GM’s shutdown in 2006 left about 2,400 employees out of work and hundreds of suppliers and other auxiliary companies idle. Some of the GM work force went to other plants, but many chose to stay here and pursue other careers.

Dayton Tire shut down the same year, leaving another 1,600 workers idle. Lucent Technology shut down its plant in west Oklahoma City in 2003, eliminating 450 jobs.

Chesapeake grew quickly and expanded into areas far beyond the scope of its core business. Some other Oklahoma City energy companies continue to expand but not at Chesapeake’s level.

Those workers who were let go have the benefit of a better job market than the GM employees. The metro unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the nation, and many companies are actively hiring.

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