45 people are out of a job this Christmas season after Armor Express in Antrim County handed out layoffs late last week. 33 Armor Express employees were affected, and 12 people hired through a temp agency are also without a job.
Despite the layoffs, the company added jobs this year and currently employs 130 people. The Central Lake company makes body armor for the United States military and law enforcement agencies.
Company leaders say decisions made at the federal level are what caused the layoffs in northern Michigan.
“Unfortunately with the military a lot of times it’s feast or famine. You either have contracts or you don’t, and in this case we had a large army contract that wound down so that was the reason for the layoff. On the bright side we were recently awarded three new contracts, and we have an older fourth one, so again we’re just waiting for the government purse strings to loosen up a little bit so we can get those people back to work as quickly as possible,” said Armor Express CEO Matt Davis.
Military contracts make up about one third of Armor Express’s business.
Antrim County commissioners say it’s unfortunate the layoffs had to happen at this time of year, and hope those affected can get back to work soon.