Whirlpool Corp. recently bought a full-page newspaper ad in the Tulsa World touting the appliance maker’s commitment to creating U.S. jobs by saying it is: “Building the best in the world right here at home.”
The advertisement presents an unavoidable irony for Fort Smith and Arkansas considering Whirlpool’s departure from Fort Smith and sending most of the production to plants in Mexico.
In June, Whirlpool closed its refrigeration production plant in Fort Smith, ending more than 45 years of Whirlpool operations at the plant. The move resulted in about 1,000 lost jobs when the plant closed. However, Whirlpool, which employed more than 4,500 at the Fort Smith plant in 2006, moved production out of the plant for several years prior to the closing. Most of that production was moved to facilities in or near Monterrey and Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.
The loss of the about 1,000 Whirlpool jobs in Fort Smith is estimated to result in the overall statewide loss of almost 1,550 jobs and a labor income reduction of $61.15 million, according to an economic impact model prepared by Gregory Hamilton, senior research economist at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, for The City Wire.
Whirlpool employs about 900 in Tulsa at a plant that makes gas and electric ranges. Click here to read the full story from our partners at TheCityWire.com.