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Pratt & Whitney workers to face layoffs. How will it impact Palm Beach County plant?

Impacted employees 'being informed today,' spokeswoman says
Pratt & Whitney
Posted at 1:13 PM, Oct 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-14 17:55:06-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Aviation and aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney is facing cutbacks due to the impact on their business because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Connecticut-based company has multiple facilities in the U.S., including one in northwestern Palm Beach County.

The NBC affiliate in Hartford reported Tuesday about 450 Pratt & Whitney jobs would be cut in the Nutmeg State.

Spokeswoman Jenny Dervin said the layoffs will affect salaried employees, and they "are being informed today."

It is unclear how many jobs will be impacted at the South Florida plant located just west of Jupiter off the Beeline Highway.

It is just another sign that the economy is still under a massive shift.

Dr. Scott Pearson
Dr. Scott Pearson, a professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University, says the economic recovery from the pandemic will take time.

"The decline has been absolutely enormous. You're seeing the difference in the way people take vacations. Everything is going to be changing," said Dr. Scott Pearson, associate professor of finance at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

He said the change will come with tough conversations for many companies nationwide.

"The recovery is going to take time," Pearson said.

Pratt and Whitney has been rooted in Palm Beach County for more than 60 years.

Real estate agent Debbie Smith said the company has been a catalyst for the area's growth and a hub for South Florida innovation.

She said job loss could force some families to downsize. However, at this point she is noticing a steady upward trend in the housing market.

"Overall, Palm Beach County offers a lot of jobs and a lot of opportunities for new businesses. I’ve seen a huge growth in new businesses. Not having a state tax is a huge reason why people bring their business here," Smith said.

Many believe adapting is the best way to move forward.

"Things are not going to be exactly the way they were," Pearson said.

Two years ago, then-Gov. Rick Scott visited the facility to announce Pratt & Whitney would invest $100 million to create 215 new jobs by 2022.

Below is a statement released Wednesday by the company:

Pratt & Whitney continues to experience and forecast reduced commercial business due to COVID-19. This has forced us to take further actions to align with current and future business demand in an evolving environment. We have made the extremely difficult but necessary decision to implement an involuntary separation program for our salaried workforce. These actions are consistent with steps taken by our customers and competitors. Out of respect for the impacted employees who are being informed today, we are not providing any additional information at this time.
As difficult as these decisions are, taking actions to resize our workforce today, while managing our cost structure and continuing to invest in new programs, positions Pratt & Whitney for the long term and ensures a strong future for the company, our employees, customers and shareowners.

Jenny Dervin
Head of Media Bureau and Strategic Messaging
Pratt & Whitney