MARIETTA - As workers wait to see if there will be layoffs or a closure at the Ormet plant in Hannibal, plenty of folks in Washington County are already thinking about the economic impacts they and others in the county will face.
A complete shutdown of the Hannibal Primary Aluminum Reduction Plant would leave 1,000 employees out of work.
A federal notice filed by Ormet last month states the first round of job cuts will take place by Sept. 18.
"The primary impact (for Washington County) is going to be in the New Matamoras area," said Terry Tamburini, executive director of the Southeastern Ohio Port Authority. Overall, he added, other parts of the county will also "bear the brunt."
For New Matamoras, "The impact would be astronomical," noted Patty Martin, the village's clerk treasurer.
According to Martin, several families in the village of New Matamoras would be affected.
"Around the area, I would guess that we're talking hundreds," Martin said.
Not only does Martin see an impact on businesses in New Matamoras and surrounding communities, she worries about other repercussions.
"It will come down to people selling homes and people leaving the area," she said.
Although the exact number of Washington County residents who work at Ormet has not yet been determined, a problem at Ormet would result in ripple effects in Marietta and beyond, officials said.
"That would be a loss of revenue and spending dollars in our county," said Charlotte Keim, director of the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce.
"If people don't have disposable income, that's going to reduce sales opportunities for many of our retailers," Keim said.
According to Larry Hivnor, member of the Workforce Investment Board and former director of Jobs Etc., if layoffs at Ormet should occur Washington County would apply for Rapid Response funding from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Depending on the needs of a laid-off individual, the funds could help with a job search, resumes and perhaps even short-term training, Hivnor added.
Ben Bowersock, 32, of Ludlow Township, has worked at the Ormet plant since 2001. He said it would be "pretty devastating" for his family of four if he were laid off from the plant because they live from paycheck to paycheck.
Bowersock said faith will sustain him during this time.
"I believe in God and God will take care of me," he said.
Several other Washington County residents who work at Ormet's Hannibal facility declined to comment for this article.
Ormet officials have noted they may have to lay off the workers because of metal market pressures and rising American Electric Power rates.