When jobs vanish, it means there’s work to do|OUR OPINION

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 5, 2008

And then there were none ….

The decision by Yorozu Automotive Mississippi to close — at least temporarily — its Warren County facility at Flowers illustrates a couple of things.

From a national perspective, it proves that while good economic times may or may not “trickle down” to localities, bad times surely do.

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From a local perspective, the announcement shows just how important ongoing, aggressive and focused economic development must be. Any community’s officials who conclude, “Well, we’ve got that covered,” are kidding themselves.

As a company, Yorozu is top-notch. It stressed old-fashioned values of a fair day’s work for a fair day’s wages with good benefits and excellent working conditions. It’s the kind of company that builds loyalty among managers and the rank-and-file.

Already downsized to 73 people, the 6-year-old plant here will be shuttered, at least until America’s automotive industry gets back on its feet. The reason was a decline in orders from Nissan’s plant in Canton and a General Motors plant in Shreveport. All employees were offered jobs in Michigan, if they wanted them. The production that had been done here will be moved to a company plant in Morrison, Tenn.

At its peak, Yorozu’s payroll was 320 people, not far behind another automotive assembly line supplier, CalsonicKansei, that had built at Ceres. In February 2007, the CalsonicKansei closed its Ceres plant, citing a “corporate redesign” and taking away about 245 jobs.

“Yorozu is an exceptional company and a good corporate citizen to Warren County,” said Wayne Mansfield, executive director of the Warren County Port Commission. “It’s not a decision they wanted to make, I can guarantee you.”

There’s no doubt about that. There’s also no doubt there’s never any time to relax in the business of job recruitment. A total of 565 jobs — good jobs — have vanished as quickly as they came. Economic development never stops.