Hurt by the fourth-quarter slowdown in capital spending, two extruder manufacturers laid workers off in December.
Davis-Standard LLC laid off 36 employees, or 9 percent, of the work force at its headquarters in Pawcatuck, Conn., and has made other cost-cutting moves, President Charles Buckley said. Davis-Standard employed 406 people in Pawcatuck before the layoffs.
Entek Manufacturing Inc. laid off 16 people 12 permanent and four temporary employees. Their last day was Dec. 12. Entek now employs 69 at its headquarters plant in Lebanon, Ore., said John Effmann, sales and marketing director.
In December, Davis-Standard renegotiated its contract with the International Association of Machinists union. The union agreed with the company's proposal to suspend 401(k) contributions for 2009 and to keep hourly wages the same as in 2008. For white-collar workers, Davis-Standard has cut salaries, from 3-24 percent.
Buckley said the machinery maker's customers, like many Americans, seem to have no confidence in President George W. Bush and his economic team. Barack Obama will be inaugurated as president Jan. 20. Buckley said customers are waiting to see Obama's stimulus package and to get a sense that the economy is stabilizing, before they invest in new machinery.
Buckley said Davis-Standard saw a slowdown in the latter part of 2008. ``What's really happened [is], our customers have been like a deer in the headlights'' as they delay making the decision to buy capital equipment, he said.
Effmann said Entek Manufacturing is doing fairly well with compounding extruders for bioresins, and wear-parts like screws and barrels have held up. But the broad general machinery market has slowed.
``We see tightening of the belts by companies, around the world, really,'' Effmann said.
Entek was finishing up a large project when the economy slowed down and that left the machinery maker overstaffed, officials said.
Entek has been investing in metalworking machinery to improve its efficiency to make screws. Effmann said that includes machining centers and a turning machine.