ThyssenKrupp Layoffs; Is Alabama Euro Vulnerable?

ThyssenKrupp, the darling of state economic developers just a few years ago when it started work on twin steel mills valued at more than $5 billion, announced plans in mid-August to lay off more than 10 percent of the workforce at its Calvert mills.

Just a day earlier, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 22 mass layoffs in Alabama during the second quarter of 2012, up from six in the first quarter and 21 in the same quarter last year. A mass layoff idles 50 or more people. The 22 layoffs cost 3, 100 people their jobs, the Birmingham Business Journal reported.

Alabama employment numbers came in mixed with a slight uptick from May’s 7.4 percent to June’s 7.8 percent, but still way down from last June’s 9.3 percent.
While ThyssenKrupp looks for a buyer for the second of its twin steel plants near Mobile, as well as its slab plant in Brazil, one of the companies rumored to be a potential buyer, South Korean steel maker Posco, broke ground on its own $4 billion steel slab plant in Brazil, the Mobile Press-Register reported.

While still analyzing employment numbers, NBC’s Economy Watch warned that Alabama is among the states most at-risk for suffering from European economic woes.  Ranking fourth among auto exporting states is great news while overseas sales are good, NBC said, but also represents a danger zone if international economics falter. NBC also said that expansions at the state’s auto plants should provide a buffer, and that the newly announced Airbus aircraft assembly line should also provide protection.

CNN Money noted that Chinese investment in the U.S. could top $8 billion this year, with several new companies landing in Alabama, like Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group. Business groups also look for increased trade with Russia.

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By Nedra Bloom

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