One of Oregon's leading manufacturing companies informed the state of a large layoff this week.
Precision Castparts Corp., which makes high-tech metal parts for the aerospace and medical industries, notified the state this week of layoffs at two separate facilities in the metro area totaling 717 employees. The company's letter to the state is dated June 4; it was received June 8 and made public June 12.
Precision Castparts' announcement is the largest manufacturing layoff listed in the state's database since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Oregon Clinic furloughed 820 workers in April and the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District laid off 792 workers in March.)
Not surprisingly, the company attributed the layoffs to COVID-19, which has crippled economies around the world and brought the commercial airline industry, which is a major end user of the metal parts Precision Castparts fabricates, to its knees.
"We are experiencing an unprecedented pandemic due to the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak," Precision Castparts wrote in its letter, first reported by The Oregonian. "It is currently unknown when business will resume to normal."
Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate run by legendary billionaire investor Warren Buffet, purchased Precision Castparts in 2015 for $37.2 billion. At the time, it was Oregon's second-largest publicly traded company, trailing only Nike in market capitalization.
Those laid off at Precision Castparts are among the 486,700 Oregonians who have lost their jobs since the pandemic began, according to the Oregon Employment Department.