10/18/2019- International trade issues are beginning to have a local impact. The L.E. Jones Company plans to halt operations at their plant in Menominee for two weeks next month following a decline in customer demand. L.E. Jones CEO David Doll says this is likely attributed to global economic changes and tensions that have developed over the past several months.
“The reasons for them are probably varied: the US- Chine trade tensions that are going on, some of our customers have talked to us about the impact of Brexit. But, there’s no doubt that we’re seeing a global slowing and we’ve seen and felt it directly with our customers. They’ve been reducing their orders to us since approximately May of this year, and that’s in line with their reduced sales to their customers.”
Doll calls these conditions a temporary slow-down rather than an indication of an impending recession. He also stresses that the decision to put a pause on production does not suggest they’re considering any layoffs.
“We’ve run the numbers, we’ve looked at customer order volumes and, taking into account that we were going to have some natural down-days anyways with holidays coming up, the two weeks that we’re setting in for a vacation shut-down match up with how we see customer orders to finish out this year and as good of visibility as we can have into the new year.”
The shut-down will begin the week of November 17th. Doll says the company has already begun working with employees who may seek unemployment benefits during this time and has also been in talks with union leaders to try to make the best decisions around their need to match up production with customer orders.