- Just before Thanksgiving, Valley Building Supply closed its Waynesboro store, laying off 19 people and relocating about half a dozen to their Staunton location. The company blamed the move on the slowdown in building and the economy in general.
- Intermet Corp, a manufacturer of cast-metal auto parts with a foundry in Radford, may lay off 140 people after the first of the year. And, Acumet Global Technologies will close its Wytheville factory during 2009 with the loss of over 160 jobs. Acumet is a supplier to the auto industry. Most of Virginia's connection to auto manufacturing (about 11,000 jobs) is found in southwest Virginia.
- Pilgrim's Pride has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after losing $802 million in the 4th quarter. Bankruptcy will allow for a reorganization that will allow them to continue operating and may save most of 700+ jobs at their Broadway plant. They also have scores of growers in Rockingham and surrounding counties. Like others in the poultry industry Pilgrim's Pride has been hammered by rising feed costs.... especially corn!
- Furniture frame and seating manufacturer, Frank Chevan, will close most Bedford operations and consolidate in Roanoke. Up to 90 jobs may be directly affected. One of Chevan's customers, Hooker Furniture, which is also located in Bedford, has already cut its 270 employees to a 4-day week.
- Shorewood Packaging will close its plant in northeast Roanoke, costing 45 jobs in mid January. The company makes a variety of consumer packaging products.
In tough economic times some folks look for old fashioned ways to make money. Virginia ABC agents announced they had found the beginning of a moonshine still near Mt. Crawford. An arrest was made after they found two 55 gallon barrels of mash (corn?) and a still. The last moonshine operation discovered in Rockingham County was in 2006 in the Fulks Run area.
Tomorrow, the Labor Department will announce new unemployment numbers. Some analysts predict the loss could be as much as 250,000 jobs nationwide.