Eighty full-time workers at the H.J. Heinz Co.’s Pocatello factory will lose their jobs March 4. The company said the job cuts come as the company is ending its T.G.I. Friday’s line of frozen meals.
The Pocatello Heinz plant produces frozen meals and snacks. After the layoffs, it will have more than 400 workers, according to the company. The Idaho Department of Labor lists Heinz as one of the 11 largest private employers in Bannock County, which includes Pocatello.
The company also said in a prepared statement that it will “adjust its production schedule to manage costs, maximize efficiency, and leverage the talent of its remaining workforce.”
The state labor department will assist the workers facing layoffs and help them find new work or training. Dan Cravens, a regional economist with the Labor Department, said the state typically tries to provide on-site services to the soon-to-be-laid-off employees and educate them about what’s available.
While the news is not good for the affected workers, Cravens said there are other employers seeking workers. Allstate Insurance and Home Depot recently announced expansions, and Bannock County had almost 1,000 more jobs in December 2012 than in December 2011, according to preliminary employment data. The county’s unemployment rate also dropped from 8 percent in 2011 to 6 percent in 2012.
“There is opportunity in the community,” Cravens said. “ It’s easier to find a job in the Pocatello area than it was a year or a year and a half ago. That’s the good news.”