Friday, March 13, 2009

Sign of The Times: Formula Idles 225 Workers

If one of the oldest and most stable companies in the performance boating industry is going through tough times like this, it makes you wonder how the rest are doing. Citing poor sales, Decatur, IL powerboat maker Porter, Inc. -- the parent company of Formula and Thunderbird boats -- has laid off 225 employees, 62 of them last week. The company says they’re expected to be out of work at least six months. Decatur Mayor John Schultz said the company had several layoffs over the past six months.

PHOTO CREDIT: Formula Boats

As recently as 2005, the company employed more than 600 in a manufacturing plant that comprised more than 400,000 square feet. As of Monday, it was unclear exactly how many workers remained on the job at the plant. In it's notice to the State, Porter said:

"...the unprecedented freezing up of credit on both the retail and wholesale sides of the boat industry has drastically affected boat sales and shipments now and in the months ahead." Porter also told state officials it wasn't exactly sure when it would call the workers back, but “it is anticipated that sales of boats may return to normal levels starting in 2010.”
Eventually, things will turn around. But as we're out on our boats this summer, try not to forget about some of the hard-working people who aren't in a position to enjoy warm weather fun on the water. Here's hoping their time-off will be short.

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