It’s hard to miss, the U.S. Electrical Motors plant just outside of downtown Philadelphia has been an imposing presence on the landscape for nearly forty years now. But city officials, including Mayor Rayburn Waddell were notified at the end of last year that it was closing down.
"It was not a surprise at all, but a disappointment. A company that has been here, and been as good as U.S. Motors you hate to see them leave they deserve credit for staying as long as they did," said Mayor Waddell.
The plant's departure was not a surprise to city officials. Ten years ago this plant housed twelve hundred employees, at that time, the parent company, Emerson Electric announced it would begin down sizing. And it did, today there are only 159 employees left and their time is limited.
The company would not return our calls but they have told Mayor Waddell the phasing out process will begin this month. The company will cut a third of the remaining employees sometime in March, they will do the same again in June and layoff the final third in September. So what will happen to the gigantic building? Well, it will be turned back over to the community.
"We have toured the building, looked at all the facilities they have available to see what we might could do once one part has come available, to see if we could use it for another company, but it is really too early to say what we might do with it in the next two years," said Mayor Waddell.
The company has cited competitive pressures and a slow economy for the closure. Meanwhile, the Mayor along with the Neshoba County Economic Development committee remains optimistic about the future of employment possibilities in the area.
For now, this dwindling plant will, for some time at least remain an ever-clear image of the prolonged downturn in the U.S. Economy.