Northrop Grumman to lay off nearly 300 workers

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - By Elizabeth Vowell – email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) – "We don't need layoffs. People need, need their job and they have bills to pay and I feel sorry.  I hope it's just a lie I hope that's what it is," said Northrop Grumman Worker Brenda Martin.

Unfortunately, for 292 workers, the lay offs at Northrop Grumman are very real.  According to the company, a lack of work in Pascagoula means they need fewer employees. Some workers say is just the cycle of the business.

"It's just shipyard work, construction. I've been in construction for a long time and you get towards the end of the job and people get laid off," said worker Michael Bucklew.

But layoffs at the shipyard have a ripple effect.

"You get shocked every time you hear it and you obviously worry about all the people who live here in Pascagoula and Jackson County, as far as how much this has hurt them and their families," said Paul Clark of Sav Rex Pharmacy.

"Well, Northrop Grumman is an important part of this community and you certainly hate to see layoffs from any industry. And this is not a good thing for any of us in retail or any type of business in Jackson County," said Coast Clothing's Thad Brumfield.

Governor Haley Barbour is pointing a finger at the Obama Administration and its policies, saying in a statement Wednesday, "This and other layoffs by our defense contractors is the real-life result of the Obama administration's cuts and delays in national security spending. I worry there will be many more to come in this administration."

"It's very concerning. I think that's getting up there in a certain percent of their overall work force, and hopefully some things will change before that has to happen," said Clark.

Barbour's prediction may very well come to pass.  In its news release, Northrop Grumman said it expects to lay off another 350 workers by the end of the year.

According to George Freeland, Executive Director of Jackson County Economic Development, the layoffs aren't cause for major concern.

"As far as the overall economic impact, our economy, with its characteristically strong industrial base, is well positioned to absorb these relatively short term impacts," said Freeland in an email.

He also emphasized the this round of layoffs is part of a normal cycle in this business.

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