Electrolux announced the closing of the St. Cloud facility that manufactures home freezers on Jan. 30 along with its plans to move production to South Carolina in 2019. The plant employs 860 workers.
The analysis shows that the loss of 860 jobs at the home freezer manufacturing plant will affect an estimated 1,800 jobs in Stearns, Benton and Sherburne counties. These workers elsewhere in the region will be affected because Electrolux will no longer need goods and services from wholesalers and trucking companies and Electrolux workers will have less disposable income to spend at businesses in the community, according to the report.
“The impact in the St. Cloud area is significant,” said King Banaian, School of Public Affairs dean and report co-author. “A loss of $102.6 million in labor income would decrease wage and salary earnings in the three counties by 1.7 percent and overall personal income by 0.8 percent.”
Banaian presented the analysis March 22 at the St. Cloud Area Quarterly Business Report Review and Regional Outlook with study co-authors Rich MacDonald, St. Cloud State professor and SOPARI interim director; Brigid Tuck, senior economic impact analyst with the University of Minnesota Extension; and Neil Linscheid, extension educator.
“As we think about this closure, we think primarily of the workers at the plant. This analysis shows the closure will affect industries and jobs beyond the plant,” Tuck said. “Currently we have relatively low unemployment, which may lessen the impact, however, the timing of layoffs and demographics of workers will be a factor.”
Young Electrolux workers could find work elsewhere if the labor conditions continue into 2019 but business-to-business recovery may take longer. Workers aged 55-64 whose skills are not easily transferable may have more difficulty in finding new employment, according to the report.
The Quarterly Business Review is co-sponsored by Great River Federal Credit Union, Times Media and the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation.