Terramite Lays Off Workers in WV

Thu May 15, 2003 - National Edition

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) A company that manufactures construction

equipment has laid off an unspecified number of workers at its plant in Cross Lanes, officials said this week.

Layoffs at Terramite Corp. come one month after U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans praised the plant as a homegrown success story.

The company’s president, Bob Cunningham, blamed a sluggish economy for the layoffs, but he declined to say how many workers would lose their jobs.

”With the economic slowdown, we have had some layoffs,’ Cunningham said. ”We have a lot of things in the works that just haven’t materialized yet.’

As of mid-April, the company employed 94 at the facility, which produces

backhoes, small tractors, end loaders and other construction equipment.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said she has contacted the Department of Commerce to inquire about assisting the company, possibly by awarding government contracts.

”We’re working on a game plan for them,’ Capito said. ”They are in a lull right now, more than a downturn.’

Cunningham blamed the war in Iraq for spending slowdowns and sluggish business in mid-April. But he anticipated an increase, hoping that consumer confidence would return and customers would purchase new equipment.