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Airplane manufacturer layoffs announced

There is another round of layoffs for employees at a Little Rock manufacturing plant.
There is another round of layoffs for employees at a Little Rock manufacturing plant. Friday, officials at Hawker Beechcraft confirmed some employees there will lose their jobs.

Even the governor has said airplane manufacturing is the state's largest export.  "These are good quality jobs that are being cut too,” said Matt DeCample with Governor Beebe’s office.

Quality jobs that require special skills were plentiful at Hawker Beechcraft who once employed 900 Arkansans. Tough economic times have dwindled that number down all year long.  "It is a part of the state's economy and the national economy that's seeing a lot of struggle during the recession because private aircraft has been one of the areas that's seen the steepest decline,” DeCample said.

State leaders have said aviation brought some 3500 manufacturing jobs into Arkansas and they hate to see them go.

When we asked DeCample if the state was doing enough to help people that are being laidoff, he had this to say; “We are doing everything we can for people across the board no matter what industry it is,” he said.

Along with Friday's confirmation of job cuts come new worries. People who were spared from layoffs earlier this year are now affected.  “It has hit some people today,” an employee told us while leaving work.  We asked if it hit him.  “I'd prefer not to say,” he replied.

It’s a sensitive issue not only affecting the employees.  "They're the majority of our customers. We see them everyday. They're in here every night. They love our pizza. We'll miss all of them," Regina Washington of the nearby Valero convenience store said. 

Hawker Beechcraft will continue to operate at its Little Rock facility, just with a reduction in its workforce. People we spoke with say they are hopeful when the economy bounces back, so will the jobs.

Company officials avoided answering how many people were laid off.

In February, Hawker Beechcraft announced 2300 layoffs nationwide. In May, the Little Rock plant laid off more than 100 employees as other staff was asked to take furloughs. This week the company closed a plant in Kansans.
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