) - Sparta's largest employer, Spartan Light Metal Products, announced it will lay off between 100 and 130 of its employees at its Sparta plant Thursday.
The company manufactures aluminum and magnesium parts, largely for the auto industry. With auto makers in financial trouble the demand for those parts has dropped dramatically.
"Their orders have fallen," said Ron Stork, president of the Sparta Chamber of Commerce. "They're simply getting cancellations...with no orders, they have no use for the work force."
"It's just because of the economic times. They don't build cars, we don't make parts," said displaced Spartan worker Warren Gerlach.
Philip Zampogna, a spokesman for Spartan Light Metals, says the company is optimistic the layoffs are only temporary. According to a Zampogna, the company is reducing its work force in light of the current economy, but has no intention of closing the plant at this time.