Jobless impact will span nine counties

Published 10:39 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Early projections indicate that several hundred jobs indirectly tied to New Era Cap Company’s plant could be affected by its closure, but those job losses will affect nine Black Belt counties differently.

The New Era Cap Company announced last Wednesday its intent to shutter their Demopolis facility after reaching a tentative agreement with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) to retain New Era’s Derby, N.Y., plant as the company’s sole U.S. manufacturing facility.

However, the nearly 350 employees at the Demopolis site commute to work from as far away as Thomasville, Selma, Camden and Marion.

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According to New Era personnel reports obtained by the Demopolis Times Tuesday, less than half (47 percent) of the Demopolis plant’s 347 employees reside in Marengo County.

Hale County accounts for 21 percent; Perry County, 11 percent; Greene County, 8 percent; Sumter County, 5 percent; Choctaw County, 3 percent; Wilcox County, 2 percent; and Clarke County, 1 percent.

Using those figures, it stands to reason that approximately 163 residents will be dumped on the Marengo County jobless market.

Using New Era’s figures, the cap plant’s employees account for 2.1 percent of the civilian workforce in Marengo, compared to just 1 percent in Perry and Hale counties. Wilcox, whose civilian workforce is among the smallest in the Black Belt, would be impacted by nearly two-tenths of a percent. In fact, the jobless rates in Greene, Sumter, Choctaw and Clarke counties each will be impacted by less than a full percentage point.