On Friday Forty-two employees of Noble Construction Equipment Incorporated were laid off. Sources tell NewsChannel 11 several employees are very upset about the sudden lay-offs, but afraid to speak out. They're afraid they'll lose their severance pay.
There are employees here who've worked at the Noble Construction Equipment Incorporated for 30 or more years. And for the first time in a long time, will be unemployed. NewsChannel 11 tried to talk to employees as they were leaving. "We have to leave? Were there any layoffs?" we asked the Noble Security Officer. "I don't know. You need to move out," he told us. We were forced off the property. We observed several employees packing up their vehicles and leaving.
Later in the afternoon, N.C.E. president Brad Rogers issued a state as to why he's laying off several employees. "Noble lost the supply contract with Caterpillar which was a significant portion (of our money)." Rogers also says there's simply not enough demand for the equipment they manufacture to keep the facilities going.
Noble employed 192 people. They are down to 150 now, since 42 employees were cut.
Rogers had a letter hand delivered to the employees stating a notice of closure. In the letter, he noted they will be closing their Lubbock Texas location entirely. That's supposed to happen November 7th, according to the letter.
"What's going to happen November 7th?" NC11 asked Rogers. "I don't know. It's going to be based on continuing economic conditions. We're putting together additional sales and marketing teams," he answered.
N.C.E. has four other locations and one in Mexico.
If Noble shuts down entirely, that means nearly 200 people will have lost their job here. Right now, Lubbock's unemployment rate is 4.4% as of July. Last year, it was at 3.8%.