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Gardner Denver laying off 45

Gardner Denver’s Tipton plant is laying off 45 employees, two-thirds of its workforce, Edward Bayhi, vice president of the company’s Altoona division said.

The company had conversations first thing Monday morning with employees, Bayhi said.

The layoffs are not effective immediately but will come on a case by case basis as the company works with employees, he said.

“We are trying to do the best for employees. It’s not their fault; it is just the market,” he said.

The company manufactures drilling equipment and fracking pumps. But the oil and gas industry has seen a glut of supply and a downturn of production, he said.

“We serve Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale planes. With depressed gas prices and cutback we’ve seen, it’s forced us into this situation,” Bayhi said.

According to a short-term energy outlook report released this month by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the administration expects monthly average natural gas production to “decline slightly during the first quarter of 2020 as the lagged effect of low prices in the second half of 2019 reduces natural gas-directed drilling. However, EIA forecasts that growth will resume in the second quarter of 2020.

Additionally, natural gas production in 2020 will average 93.2 billion cubic feet per day,” the report states.

Gardner Denver in Tipton is retaining between 15 and 20 employees to maintain operations and shrink down to a smaller footprint. Gardner Denver is keeping service techs as service work continues to grow. Among the employees subject to layoffs are welders, office support staff and machinists, Bayhi said.

Bayhi informed Altoona Blair County Development Corp. President and CEO Steve McKnight during a routine business retention meeting with ABCD Corp. Monday, said McKnight.

The layoffs are part of national “right sizing” of Gardner Denver operations, McKnight said he learned from the meeting.

“What we are doing right now is we are working with CareerLink and the Governor’s Rapid Response network to ensure job placement resources are available for the workers. That is our priority at this point,” McKnight said.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.

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