Dura Automotive Systems in Moberly will start to lay off its 81 employees May 1, according to notice sent to the state. The company is citing the new coronavirus as the need for the layoffs.


They company, based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October and was trying to refinance its debt and sell the remaining aspects of the business.


Calls to Dura and the Moberly Area Chamber of commerce seeking comment were not returned Tuesday morning.


Dura cited a faltering company, unforeseeable business circumstances and natural disaster exceptions in submitting its notice in less than 60 days prior to the layoff start date.


The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice was submitted to the State of Missouri’s office of workforce development April 17. Dura does not know if its asset sell off and refinancing will succeed, according to the WARN notice, and COVID-19 adds further uncertainty, it stated.


"If a sale of the business does not occur, or occurs in a manner different than we anticipate, absent another source of financing, that the company’s location (in Moberly) will permanently close," the notice filed by Dura states.


The planned layoff ads to further unemployment numbers in the state and the U.S. The U.S. has seen 2.2 million jobless claims and Missouri had nearly 340,000 new unemployment claims in the past month, as of April 11.


Dura is a supplier of battery trays, driver control systems and lightweight metal frames. It joins another regional layoff from the automotive industry when Spartan Light Metal Products, an engine parts manufacturer, laid off just over 400 employees at its Mexico and Hannibal production facilities. Spartan noted in its WARN notice that the layoffs would be temporary. The Dura layoffs are permanent.


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