The potential closure of Tyson Foods’ small-town processing plant has sent ripples of fear throughout the community. Nearly 500 workers are at risk of losing their jobs as the plant nears potential closure, a concern exacerbated by the nationwide boom in manufacturing jobs that comes with a recovering economy.
The meat-processing industry has undergone dramatic changes in recent years with large, cutting-edge plants that produce thousands of ready-made products springing up. These new plants are often more efficient and cost-effective for the companies that own them. For small towns like the one near the Tyson plant, the transition can be devastating.
The closure of the Tyson plant would leave many workers in a difficult position: finding and transferring to similar jobs in more urban areas would be a costly and difficult transition. Local businesses and services that relied on the wages from the Tyson workers would also suffer.
The Tyson plant has been in the small town for years, supporting many of its citizens and sustaining its economy. Now, many local residents fear the ripple effects of yet another manufacturing job loss. To survive in the 21st century economy, finding ways to diversify the economic base with additional job industries and encourage economic growth may be the only way to keep small towns prosperous.