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Oakes plant to shut down

JLG Industries Inc., a major employer in the southeastern North Dakota town of Oakes, says it is shutting down its plant there by the end of September.

Thursday's announcement follows the layoff of more than 100 workers at the plant over the past year.

JLG spokesman John Daggett says the remaining 61 positions will be cut by Sept. 24. He says the company will work with state officials to help the workers in the town of about 2,000 find other jobs.

Oakes Mayor Gary Opp said he received a call Thursday morning informing him that the plant would be closing.

"I asked him if it was definitely closing for good," said Opp. "He couldn't give me an answer."

Opp said there has been a production plant of some sort at that location at least since 1969 when he took a teaching job in Oakes.

It's been about 15 years since the plant has had any similar problems involving job layoffs, he said.

"The economy is having a large impact on all of us," Opp said, regardless of if you are a small or large community.

"There's a lot of modern equipment out there," said Opp, adding that he hopes it will be used either by JLG reopening its plant or by securing another occupant for the space.

The city and its economic development group, Oakes Enhancement, will work jointly on the issue.

"I would guess we will have several meetings and see what we can do," Opp said about finding work for affected JLG workers.

JLG is a subsidiary of Oshkosh Corp. It makes aerial work platform lifts for commercial and military use.

Daggett says JLG has laid off 53 percent of its worldwide work force over the past year due to the downturn in construction and the credit crunch.