Correct Craft to reduce work force this summer

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Correct Craft says it did everything it could to avoid laying off employees, but the ongoing slump in marine sales is forcing the elimination of 98 positions starting Aug. 30.

"To my knowledge we're the only boat manufacturer in the country that has not had a shutdown since Christmas," president and CEO Bill Yeargin told Soundings Trade Only this morning.

He emphasized that the company is still producing boats every day and has orders into the second week of October.

"We're not down as much as the market," he said.  "We just can't keep the level of where it was a year ago.

"This is gut-wrenching," Yeargin continued. "I lose sleep over this stuff. These are really good people. We just have to adjust to the market."

He said Correct Craft first started feeling the effects of the downturn in January. The company cut back on production levels, but instead of laying off workers, the boatbuilder started a training program.

"We didn't want to lose these people because they're good people," said Yeargin.

By early April there was still no improvement in the market, so Correct Craft furloughed some of its employees, with full benefits. That lasted a few months, but now Yeargin says the company has no choice but to eliminate the positions.

Yeargin declined to discuss total employment figures for Correct Craft, citing competitive reasons. However, the Orlando Business Journal reports the company had 2007 revenue of $107.7 million and 392 employees.

— Melanie Winters

m.winters@tradeonlytoday.com

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