Briggs & Stratton announces more than 100 layoffs

By Christy Hendricks

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) -  Employees at Briggs and Stratton in Poplar Bluff react to news of over 100 layoffs after another tough blow to the local economy.

Briggs & Stratton in Poplar Bluff announced the layoffs of 114 employees.
The company announced it to workers just last week, citing softer demand for lawn and garden equipment.
One employee who will be cut says she doesn't know what she'll do next.
"Everyone was devasted," said the employee, who asked not to reveal her identity.  "A lot of people got upset. I mean they're going ot have to sell their homes.  They don't know what they're going to do."
After April 17th, 114 people will be looking for something else to do.
The employee says workers were told last week of the cuts.  She says finding another job after working for the small engine manufacturer will be hard.
"What am I going to do? There's not alot of opportunities in this area to make the same pay.  You're used to the lifestyle you've lived for some time.  Just really confused," she said. 
While the job loss is the biggest for the town in quite a while, the mayor says she has faith in the local economy.
"Course it's always devastating to families when they lose a job or hear of a layoff but folks in Poplar Bluff have tenacity so I think that they'll be able to bounce back," said Mayor Susan Williams. 
Emmett Morgan, owner of Morgan Engine Repair, is a Briggs and Stratton dealer.  He says he's seen a decrease in demand for new engines which is the reason the company cites for the layoffs.
"The new sales are a little bit off from last year," Morgan said. "We're seeing more and more people taking the older units they've got and trying to fix it than maybe $200 to $300, do that versus spending $1500 for a new unit."
The employee says some layoffs were expected.
"Rumors had been flying the last couple weeks," she said. "We just didn t know who was going, what department was going."
Now she and 113 others are left wondering where to go from now.
The employee said company officials mentioned the possibility of rehiring some workers in the fall.  However, company officials did not confirm it.
According to the Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce, Briggs & Stratton employs 1,039 employees and is one of the largest employers in Poplar Bluff.