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57 St. Louis companies have furloughed, laid off 20,000 workers due to COVID-19

Unemployment rates have skyrocketed over the past two months as companies have cut costs and slashed jobs to stay alive
Credit: SLBJ

ST. LOUIS — The coronavirus pandemic has left a devastating mark on the companies, large and small, in the region. Some industries have been hit harder than others, such as hospitality and tourism, but nearly every St. Louis company is feeling the effects. 

Unemployment rates have skyrocketed over the past two months as companies have cut costs and slashed jobs to stay alive. In Missouri, more than 500,000 unemployment claims have been filed since March, including another 49,000 last week. The numbers are even more stark in Illinois where unemployment claims grew to nearly 700,000.

A record 20.5 million lost their jobs in April in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the total job loss is double the amount lost due to the 2008 financial crisis.

Locally, the Business Journal has been compiling a list of local coronavirus-related furloughs that has grown to include 57 companies and 20,000 laid off or furloughed since the pandemic began. The list, which we have updated below, will be updated over the coming days and weeks.

Manufacturing

Alsco Inc., a renter of uniforms and linen to the industry, with a location in the city of St. Louis' Kosciusko neighborhood, at 315 Lynch St. laid off 39 workers at the city plant in late March, according to spokesman Ben Fox.

Boot maker Red Wing Shoe Co. Inc. of Washington said it will partially close a facility in Potosi at 1 Red Wing Drive, impacting 184 people. It said it thought the move would be temporary.

Chesterfield-based Aegion Corp., a rehabber of infrastructure pipelines, cut wages for North American salaried employees by 15% to 50%, and furloughed about 15% of its workforce.

Caleres Inc., the global footwear company and retailer, has laid off 368 workers, including a large call center staff, at its Clayton headquarters due to the coronavirus pandemic. The layoffs at the 8300 Maryland Ave. offices occurred March 28 and 29, and are expected to be temporary, the company said in a letter dated April 2 to the state Office of Workforce Development.

Town & Country-based Rawlings Sporting Goods announced in early April it would temporarily lay off 140 employees at its headquarters. The move followed news that it would cut 130 workers at a Washington, Missouri, plant.

St. Louis-based movie theater seat manufacturer VIP Cinemas will shut down after economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic made its restructuring plan impossible, the Wall Street Journal reported on March 30, citing anonymous sources. The company, which employed 373 people, told workers it would shut down. VIP Cinemas in February filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and had hoped to emerge in mid-April.

General Motors suspended production at its Wentzville assembly plant in mid-March, pausing work at all North American manufacturing plants due to market conditions caused by the coronavirus. More than 4,100 employees work at the Wentzville plant.

Amcor Rigid Packaging USA LLC, a subsidiary of Amcor PLC of Melbourne, Australia (NYSE: AMCR), laid off 105 workers in mid-March. The facility is located at 5801 N. Lindbergh Blvd., and is owned by an entity affiliated with Duke Realty of Indianapolis (NYSE: DRE). Amcor said the layoffs, affecting employees who aren't unionized, would go from June 17 to Aug. 31, after which the facility would close.

Boeing announced in late April that it was cutting about 10% of its workforce. The aerospace company employed about 14,000 in St. Louis as part of its defense division as of April 2019.

Commercial printer RR Donnelley on March 4 said it would permanently close two plants in the city of St. Louis, at 3049 Chouteau Ave. and 5900 Berthold Ave. Seventy-two workers are affected. Reductions began April 16 and will end June 15, it said.

LMI Aerospace announced in mid-April that is was furloughing 140 employees across two locations in St. Charles County in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The St. Charles-based company is a supplier of components and engineering services to the commercial, business and military aerospace markets.

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