By Jennifer Loren, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- And now, even bulletproof businesses are getting hit. More than 100 Tulsans were blindsided by the news they'll lose their jobs at the start of the new year in an industry thought to be one of a few bright spots in our economy in crisis.
Wind energy is a relatively new industry to this part of the country. By the end of this year, the industry will provide more than 60,000 jobs nationwide. More than 50 new wind industry manufacturing plants have opened in the last two years, including one in east Tulsa, DMI Industries.
DMI manufactures wind towers for wind farm developers. They plan to expand their Tulsa facility in the coming year, adding 250 new jobs.
But, at Trinity Structural Towers it's a different story. They manufacture similar towers and they're closing. More than 130 hourly and administrative employees will be laid off.
In a letter delivered to employees, the company writes their anticipated separation date is January 17th, 2009.
The managers of the Tulsa plant would not comment on camera. But, the corporation released a written statement:
"The plant closure is due to wind farm developers' difficulty in receiving financing. And due to that lack of financing developers are forced to delay upcoming projects."
But according to the American Wind Energy Association, 2008 will be a record-breaking year for the industry. They estimate more than 9,000 manufacturing jobs have been created this year alone. But, they say 2009 will not break any records.
In an e-mail a Wind Energy Association spokesperson says the industry will be hurt by what has happened in the financial markets. She says the current financial challenges are likely contribute to the continuing consolidation of the industry.
But, she says, Trinity's plant closure is against the trend and that good projects are moving forward.