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Fond du Lac leaders say the county's economic outlook is strong despite recent layoffs

Posted at 6:38 PM, Jul 02, 2024

FOND DU LAC COUNTY (NBC 26) — By the end of the summer, more than 400 people in Fond du Lac County will have been laid off after major workforce reductions at Mercury Marine and Charter Communications.

  • After Fond du Lac employers recently announced hundreds of layoffs, business leaders say the economic outlook is still optimistic.
  • Fond du Lac County has a lower unemployment rate than the state average.
  • Moraine Park Technical College said they offer opportunities for people looking for work to bolster their resume.

Charter Communications said in a letter to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development that it’s laying off 122 employees at the end of August.
A spokesperson for Charter told NBC 26 that employees were notified of these changes two months ago.

The spokesperson said in a statement: "We have offered all of these employees the opportunity to relocate for other jobs with the company and many are doing so. For employees who do not have a role with the company when we complete this transition, they will be eligible for comprehensive severance benefits, including salary continuation, health insurance and outplacement services. Over the next year, we will relocate into national centers to centralize the overall management and scheduling of our technicians. The new centers will standardize these processes and better support our technicians in their ability to provide superior service for our customers."

This comes less than a month after Mercury Marine announced it will layoff nearly 300 people at the end of July.

Saide Howell, president of Envision Greater Fond du Lac, the county’s chamber of commerce and economic development organization, said they’ve been working with mercury.

"They're in a really recreation based industry, and so they're the first ones who see when the market upticks, and they're the first ones to see when the market shifts downwards," Howell said.

A spokesperson for Mercury’s parent company Brunswick said they don’t have additional large workforce reductions planned.

The spokesperson said they're keeping an eye on economic conditions and the demand for their product, and may need to increase staff if demand rises.

Lisa McArthur, Vice President of Economic Development at Envision, said she’s still optimistic about the job market.

"We have a lot of amazing employers within the city and the county in general that are desperately looking for workforce," McArthur said. "I think the outlook is still really, really strong for our area.

McArthur said the unemployment rate in Fond du Lac County as of may was 2.7 percent, less than the state average of 2.9 percent. And, she said even after the layoffs, she doesn’t expect that number to change much.

For those seeking employment, Fred Rice, Vice President of Academics at Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac, said the college can help make connections.

"All of our programs have advisory committees that are practitioners made up of our employer partners," Rice said.

McArthur says there are currently more than 1,861 job postings postings in Fond du Lac County 76 percent of them are in the city of Fond du Lac.