Massive Food Company is Now Laying Off Hundreds in Iowa

A massive food company is now laying off hundreds in Iowa according to a WARN notice filed with the state’s Workforce Development Department.

Smithfield Foods has announced the closure of its ham boning facility in Altoona, resulting in a total of 319 layoffs.

The company filed a WARN notice with the Iowa Workforce Development Department, advising that the layoffs will take effect on August 31.

Smithfield plans to meet with employees individually and provide details about the transition plan, including severance and financial incentives to assure business continuity and potential employment opportunities at Smithfield.

“We appreciate the good work our Altoona employees have done over the years and are committed to supporting every employee through this transition,” said Doug Sutton, chief manufacturing officer for Smithfield Foods.

“We have been successful in retaining many of our people in positions with Smithfield during previous consolidations and will provide information about opportunities at other Smithfield locations.”

The production at the Altoona facility will be consolidated into existing facilities run by Smithfield in Monmouth, Ill.; Sioux Falls, SD; and Crete, Neb.

The company employs nearly 4,000 people in Iowa at its farms and its meat-processing facilities in Carroll, Denison, Des Moines, Mason City, Orange City, Sioux Center and Sioux City.

Last week, John Deere, the world’s leading seller of tractors and crop harvesters, also revealed plans to lay off around 610 production staff by the end of summer.

This decision, driven by rising operational costs and declining market demand, will affect multiple plants in Illinois and Iowa.

The Davenport, Iowa factory will see 230 employees laid off, while about 100 production workers at the Dubuque, Iowa plant will also lose their jobs.

These layoffs follow earlier announcements this year, including 200 employees at the Waterloo Works plant in May and 308 workers at the same location in late April.

In March, a total of 150 employees at the Ankeny plant faced layoffs.

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Also Read: Retirees Will Now Receive More Money For Social Security

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Market News Today - Massive Food Company is Now Laying Off Hundreds in Iowa.
Market News Today – Massive Food Company is Now Laying Off Hundreds in Iowa.

Applications for unemployment benefits now surge to new highs, a sign that the white-hot labor market is starting to cool off.

First-time applications for unemployment benefits rose last week to 231,000, the highest level since August, per CNN.

Thursday’s data also showed that the number of continuing claims, or applications from people who have filed for unemployment for at least one week, was 1.78 million.

That’s an increase of 17,000 from the prior week, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The latest numbers come less than a week after the monthly jobs report showed the US economy added just 175,000 positions in April, less than economists expected and a steep drop-off from prior months.

US employers have now added an average of 245,500 jobs per month, versus 2023’s 251,000-per-month average.

Still, hiring remains strong. Although the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9% last month, it’s the 27th consecutive month that the jobless rate has held under 4%, matching a streak last seen in the late 1960s.

Weekly jobless claims data tends to be volatile but, while one week’s worth of data “does not a trend make,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at Fwdbonds.

“We can no longer be sure that calm seas lie ahead for the US economy if today’s weekly jobless claims are any indication.”

Company layoffs are picking up, hinting at caution on the part of companies as they weigh the outlook for the second half of the year,” he wrote in a note Thursday.

The Federal Reserve has been battling inflation by raising its key lending rate in the hopes of slowing the economy.

While the labor market has so far resisted those efforts, remaining white hot for the past 18 months despite 11 rate hikes from the central bank, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said last week that demand has “cooled from its extremely high level of a couple of years ago.”

Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Economics said in a note Thursday: “We’d need to see at least a month of elevated readings to convince us that the trend really has turned.”

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Also Read: A Giant Company Now Announces Unexpected Layoffs in Virginia

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Market News Today - Massive Food Company is Now Laying Off Hundreds in Iowa.
Market News Today – Massive Food Company is Now Laying Off Hundreds in Iowa.

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