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Jabil Circuit to lay off 150 workers in December

ST. PETERSBURG — Jabil Circuit will lay off 150 workers from its St. Petersburg manufacturing plant next month because of a decline in customer orders tied to the global economic slowdown.

"When there's less demand for product, there's less demand for people,'' said spokeswoman Beth Walters. "The decline is broad-based as opposed to one customer or one sector.''

Jabil told employees this week it will cut 100 manufacturing and 50 office jobs. The company will identify which product lines will be affected and notify workers receiving pink slips next month, Walters said.

Jabil cut 120 plant jobs in September, a day before the high-tech company announced plans to build its world headquarters and a new manufacturing plant in St. Petersburg, creating 858 additional jobs. The company will receive $34.4-million in economic incentives from the state, Pinellas County and St. Petersburg.

Jabil told City Development Administrator Rick Mussett on Friday that plans for the expansion are still on despite the new round of layoffs.

The city continues to work on a contract with performance standards to ensure Jabil lives up to its end of the deal, Mussett said. He doesn't think the company is laying off workers now to get incentives for rehiring them later.

"Look at what's going on nationally,'' Mussett said. "All companies are reacting to the current economic climate. So, I wouldn't say we have concerns.''

About 2,000 employees work at the plant and current headquarters on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N, in the Gateway area. A Fortune 500 electronics manufacturing company, Jabil has locations around the globe, with 75,000 employees in 20 countries.

Most new jobs from the St. Petersburg expansion will be in Jabil's growing defense and aerospace business and the rest in corporate administration, chief executive officer Tim Main said in September. Jabil has until 2012 to finish hiring those workers.

"If they don't perform, they don't get the money," said St. Petersburg City Council Chairman Jamie Bennett. "What's really, really sad is to watch the slow erosion of jobs. It's starting to creep in from the rest of the country. We are not insular, we are not protected from that."

Steve Huettel can be reached at huettel@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3384.

Jabil Circuit to lay off 150 workers in December 11/21/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 24, 2008 8:47pm]
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