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Layoffs accelerate as coronavirus disrupts economy

For kitchen cabinet seller Wayzata Home Products, the coronavirus outbreak was the worst possible timing.

The Connersville, Indiana-based home improvement company ceased operations on Friday “due to significant and recent unforeseeable business circumstances, including the market and financial impact of the global spread of COVID-19,” senior vice president Keith Hug told the state of Indiana in a letter.

Wayzata’s abrupt closure, which Hug said came after investors lost confidence in the company’s future, comes amid an expected wave of layoffs and job reductions tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

If the outbreak worsens, some 24% of employers plan to downsize, according to a survey of business owners conducted March 7-13 by investment bank UBS. 

“It does feel like just impossible still to project at this point what the ultimate number of layoffs is going to look like,” said Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, an outplacement firm. “It really depends on how long this crisis persists.”

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