Wyoming Machinery Company announced Wednesday it will lay off 13 percent of its workforce.
The leading heavy equipment maker cited the economic collapse fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding downturn in the state’s energy industries as reasons for the layoffs.
“Along with many businesses in the state, Wyoming Machinery Company has experienced the effects of the recent downturn in the state’s energy sector and the additional impact of COVID-19,” the company said in a statement. “After evaluating several options to meet these challenges, Wyoming Machinery Company made the very difficult decision to implement a reduction in force.”
Jeff Litzinger, the company’s training and development manager, declined to comment beyond the statement or specify the number of employees affected by the reduction.
The Wyoming-based company has provided machinery, including its fleet of Caterpillar equipment, to several of the state’s coal and oil operations for over 50 years. It has locations in Casper, Cheyenne, Gillette and Rock Springs. It also serves the construction sector.
As state and local governments took steps in recent months to prevent the spread of the deadly virus, the economy has nearly ground to a halt. Layoffs have swept like wildfire through the Equality State. Over 33,000 workers filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March, a record volume for the Department of Workforce Services.
Demand for commodities central to Wyoming’s energy economy, like coal and oil, has dramatically slowed in recent months, too. A decline in electricity and fuel consumption during the pandemic has devastated the state’s leading industry.
Since the novel coronavirus entered Wyoming, coal mines have laid off or furloughed over 400 workers. With oil and gas operators shutting in wells, hundreds of oil workers have been left jobless.
The cuts at Wyoming Machinery Company also come less than a week after BNSF Railway announced it will close two Wyoming facilities and let go of 130 employees.
Wyoming Machinery Company said it was working to provide affected employees with support.
Follow the latest on Wyoming’s energy industry @camillereports
Concerned about COVID-19?
Sign up now to get the most recent coronavirus headlines and other important local and national news sent to your email inbox daily.