Illinois' February Layoffs: 1,800 Job Cuts Predicted After Sixteen Companies Announce Plans

02/09/2012 10:12 am ET | Updated Feb 09, 2012

Obligated by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act to inform the state of planned job cuts, sixteen companies have submitted reports indicating that roughly 1,800 employees in Illinois stand to lose their jobs by the end of March.

The widely-publicized closure of the Hull House Association last month will cause one of the biggest hits, having closed the doors on 295 employees. TCF National Bank announced plans to lay off 204 workers at its Willowbrook and Schiller Park branches, according to Crain's Chicago Business, and Rolf's Patisserie's hotly-contested, abrupt firings left 136 workers unemployed.

The total anticipated losses also account for large-scale corporate layoffs from national companies like Kraft Foods Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. planning sweeping cuts across the country that will affect some Illinois outposts, Crain's reports.

The WARN Act requires employers to provide notice to workers or union representatives and relevant local government units at least 60 days in advance of planned closures or sweeping layoffs.

Illinois' overall employment rate may avoid severe fluctuations in light of these layoffs, however, thanks to an announcement last week that Chrysler plans to increase production at its Belvidere plant in Illinois, an expansion that includes hiring 1,800 new workers, according to the Associated Press. Nearly 15 percent of Belvidere and neighboring Rockford's workforce was unemployed in December.

Some Chrysler employees say they're thankful for the openings in their community, but that they don't expect the company's expansion to have a substantial impact on the larger unemployment and economic problems.

"I'd like to see more," 58-year-old Art Nemmers, a 14-year plant veteran, told the AP. "This is a drop in the ocean."

The same plant laid off nearly 1,000 employees in 2008, citing bankruptcy, but has since stabilized with new owners.

In January, WARN job cut announcements quadrupled from the previous month with the news that 7,601 employees would be let go, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Major cuts that month from Kraft Foods, Archer Daniels Midland and other companies brought the total layoffs up 86 percent from January 2011, according to a report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based outplacement firm.


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