Washington officials caught by surprise at facility shutting down
WASHINGTON, Beaufort County - The Parker Hannifin Manufacturing Facility in Beaufort County is shutting down and moving its production to two other states.
Officials with the Beaufort County Economic Development said they found out about the move at almost the same time we did. "This morning we received information, not actually from the company, but generally, in the rumor mill, that CLARCOR was closing," said BCED Director Martyn Johnson. CLARCOR refers to the Parker Hannifin Filtration Manufacturing Facility. A representative for the company said they decided to close the plant and move operations to South Dakota and Mississippi to focus on facilities in other states to ensure higher quality. The plant's closing means the loss of about 220 jobs in Beaufort County. That means the unemployment rate will rise from 4.9 percent to 5.9 percent. Layoffs have started and will be finished by December, officials with the company said. "My focus will be two things, one is to market the building, but also to make sure the company and the employees get the resources they need in this situation," Johnson said. Johnson said not only was the plant a major employer in the county, it was a great resource for job training. Johnson said marketing the building to another manufacturer would help to make up for lost jobs. That will also soften the blow to Beaufort County's economy.