Cooper Lighting told WSFA-TV in a statement that the company is moving its operation elsewhere so it can maintain competitiveness. The majority of jobs will go to three cities in Mexico. Cooper Lighting set up its local operation in 1980 is among the three largest employers in Eufaula.
Mayor Jack Tibbs said the company was moving to take advantage of cheaper labor costs.
"The average annual salary for one person at the company in Eufaula is $33,000, while in Mexico it's $9,000," he said.
Local officials fear a ripple effect through the regional economy. For example, a local engineering firm supplies parts to Cooper Lighting and employs 30 people. Tibbs said he fears local firms that supply the factory may also lay off workers.
"They have a $10 million payroll and those dollars turn over several times in the community," Tibbs said.
Susan Culpepper, who runs the local Cajun Corner restaurant, said she thinks her restaurant will take a financial hit when Cooper Lighting begins its layoffs.
"We've catered out there and we have employees come here so we're going to lose that business," she said.
Information from: WSFA-TV, http://www.wsfa.com/
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.