USA - Company slashes 27 jobs

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Logansport, IN (USA) - In a phone interview Monday, Jeff Todd, president and owner of S.U.S. Cast Products, cited a drop in production demand as the reason the company had cut its staff by about 25 percent.

“It’s due to a slow-down in our customer base,” Todd said.

The company has lost no clients, but its customers have been ordering fewer aluminum die castings, Todd said. He said the housing crisis was the main culprit.

“When the housing industry picks up, that will make a big difference for us,” Todd said.

The business, at 1825 W. Market St. near U.S. 35, makes parts for power tools, appliances and heating and cooling equipment, all of which are used in the construction of new houses across the country.

Before the recent layoff, S.U.S. Cast had about 100 employees, who mostly resided in Logansport and Cass County. The eliminated positions entailed all varieties of production work and some office staff, Todd said. He is considering the cuts a permanent layoff, with no plans to rehire those workers.

Todd said he did expect the company to bounce back.

“I don’t know how soon it will be,” he said.

With 2008 being an election year, Todd has been hearing politicians saying they can fix the national housing crisis, but he’s not putting much hope in that. The market will rebound, he said, without meddling by elected officials.

“I think that’s the only way,” Todd said. “It will have to work itself out.”

S.U.S. had been doing well. In 2006, the aluminum casting company installed its 12th die cast machine and got tax abatement on $1.1 million in manufacturing equipment. That same year the Logansport-Cass County Chamber of Commerce presented S.U.S. Cast with the Large Business Industry of the Year Award.

At one point, the company, which was founded by S.U. Siena in 1946 and purchased by the Todd family in 1992, employed as many as 130 workers.

The layoff at S.U.S. follows another hit to Cass County’s economy. In April, Modine Manufacturing Co. announced that it would be closing its Logansport facility over the next 18 to 24 months. The move will eliminate 126 jobs.