The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Friday, December 06, 2002

What if plant in Paducah closed today ...?


If the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant were to close today, the loss would be huge:

Losing 1,450 jobs would have roughly a $287 million economic ripple effect on the region, based on a 3-year-old state Workforce Development Cabinet model showing that every 100 manufacturing jobs are worth about $19.8 million to the economy in terms of spending power. Manufacturing has the greatest economic impact among nine industrial sectors, because those jobs typically pay the most.

USEC is one of the area's highest-paying employers with an estimated annual payroll and benefits of at least $123 million. That breaks down to about $84,000 per worker.

USEC and its employees evenly share about $200,000 in annual charitable contributions.

The plant spends about $12 million annually on goods and services largely supplied by local business.

The Paducah plant is expected to operate at least eight more years, regardless of whether the community gets a replacement gas centrifuge plant employing 500. But USEC's recent announcement that it will pare the work force to 1,250 by early next year came as the region was suffering from a string of plant downsizings and closings.

USEC's new cuts mean a payroll drop of about 600 since 1998. During that time, including the USEC numbers, far western Kentucky has lost about 3,100 manufacturing jobs. The most recent blow was nearly 900 layoffs at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant at Union City, Tenn.; about 20 percent of whose workers live in the southern part of the Jackson Purchase.

Using the state model, the loss of 3,100 jobs has cost far western Kentucky about $614 million. That is offset by growth of several hundred jobs from the expansion of some plants and reopening of others, such as the Pella custom-window plant (formerly Mattel) in Murray and the VMV Enterprises locomotive shop in Paducah.