Haldex, Blue Springs plant closing

October 14, 2019 - 4:00 am

In a statement last week, Haldex, a Sweden-based brake manufacturing company, announced plans to close its Blue Springs plant, affecting 154 jobs, and move its operations to Mexico. According to their statement to Fox4 News, the layoffs will begin in December, and continue until the plant closes late next year.

This is the final phase of their efforts to move manufacturing out of the United States. KMBZ's Chief Economist, Chris Kuehl, with Armada Corporate Intelligence, tells us this is part of what seems to be a bigger trend. 

Kuehl says, "In the past [companies moving] was generally related to trying to find lower production costs, lower wages, and that still a motivator for some companies." He says, "lately, it has been related to tariffs and the trade war."

Haldex has manufacturing plants all over the world. Kuehl says until last year, there was a trend of companies moving back into the United States, partly because of increasing wages in other countries, and increasing technology in robotics and automation here in the U.S.

Kuehl says, now, with the tariffs, companies are having trouble getting their parts and raw materials into the United States. He says, "companies, for example Haldex, are [now] having difficulty getting the parts they need from China and some other countries that we are having trade wars with, so they are moving to countries where they can more easily get those parts."

Kuehl says the layoffs will likely have a negative impact on the Blue Springs economy, as well as Kansas City. He says he understands the trade wars and negotiating better trade deals with other countries. He says, however, we may need to rethink our approach if we want to continue moving in the right direction.

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