Temporary Layoffs in Bay County

By: WJHG-TV, Kristina Hamilton
By: WJHG-TV, Kristina Hamilton

Luxury purchases are usually the first thing to go when the economy gets tough, and that trend is starting to affect jobs here in Bay County.

Century Boat Company is laying off 103 employees from its boat factory in Bayou George, but company officials say the layoffs are only temporary.

Noise machines and the strong smell of fiberglass are usually signs of a robust economy at the Century Fiberglass Manufacturing Facility in Bayou George, but after November 1 this factory will be empty and silent. The company has decided to shut down the plant for at least two months.

Dean Burnett with Century Boat Company said, "It's an economic decision. It wasn't a product driven decision. The entire boating industry's pretty much in turmoil."

The shutdown means 103 employees will be out of work through the end of the year.

Vice President and General Manager Dean Burnett said the layoffs are necessary for Century to safely navigate their company through these treacherous economic times. For the next 90 days the company will dedicate all resources toward marketing and selling the company's current inventory of boats at six major boats shows.

"In order for us to basically alleviate that dealer industry we needed to slow down our production rate."

Dean Burnette said building boats is one of the most labor intensive trades around, but he said he has the finest crew in the world and he plans to bring each and every employee back after the first of January. Normally the Century factory shuts down about three weeks during the holiday months.

"We're looking at this as an extension of those yearly shutdowns to alleviate dealer inventory."

Burnett says he loves his employees like family and wishes the situation were different. In the meantime, he's encouraging them to find temporary work.

"People out there in the factory are very passionate about it. They love what they do, and like I said, it shows in the end product and we're proud of them everyday."

Century plans to recall all 103 employees on January 5, but Burnett says ultimately it's up to them whether they return.

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