The continuous downsizing of appliance makers is hammering plastic parts suppliers. As Whirlpool Corp. cuts another 700 jobs in Fort Smith, Ark., this month, local molding factories are forced to adjust.
Jarden Plastic Solutions, a division of publicly traded Jarden Corp. of Rye, N.Y., is shuttering its thermoforming and extrusion plant in Fort Smith. The company announced the elimination of 93 jobs in a news release, but declined to disclose any information beyond the statement.
``As a result of challenging external economic factors, including declining demand of our largest customer, Jarden Process Solutions plans to close its facility in Fort Smith in January 2009. We made this decision only after significant deliberation,'' the release said.
Jarden's Web site indicates that the Fort Smith plant started in 1975. With 200,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space, the plant made plastic inserts for appliances, as well as a proprietary line of lightweight plastic tables.
Whirlpool manufactures side-by-side refrigerators and ice makers in Fort Smith. Employment at the factory has declined since 2006 by 74 percent, from roughly 4,600 people to about 1,200, according to local news reports.