Expert weighs in on local economic impact of Smith and Wesson move | News
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — Gun manufacturer Smith and Wesson is moving out of Springfield affecting more than 500 jobs locally.
The move comes with pending legislation in the works that would prohibit the company from making certain firearms here in Massachusetts. One local expert says it’s possible impacted employees will hit the job market sooner rather than later.
“It’s not a huge surprise that they’re leaving,” Pioneer Valley Project Executive Director Tara Parrish said.
Smith and Wesson is planning a big move preparing to take their headquarters to Tennessee by 2023 and impacting more than 500 jobs here in western Mass. The company said they have no alternative with legislation in the works that would prohibit certain firearms from being made in Massachusetts.
In Springfield since 1852, the gun manufacturer has been under fire by gun control activists in past years, some protesting and urging them to do their part in helping to stop mass shootings.
One of the protest organizers, Parrish, tells Western Mass News the loss of local jobs is troubling.
“Clearly, it’s a blow to the local economy with so many jobs being uprooted from our city. When I heard it initially in my thoughts were with the workers how will you know how they will find new job opportunities in this region,” Parris said.
The company will keep some of its manufacturing here in Springfield along with around 1,000 employees in Massachusetts.
But with hundreds of jobs still expected to be impacted economic expert Karl Petrick said the move comes with repercussions for many local families.
“Anytime you lose a company‘s headquarters and some good-paying skilled manufacturing jobs well, there is an effect on the economy so, definitely that’s not good news,” Petrick explained.
He said there is a large demand for skilled manufacturing workers right now, many who may not wait years to plan their next steps.
“They’ll probably be putting themselves in the job market sooner rather than later and look to secure a new job before this actually happens in 2023,” Petrick said.
Smith and Wesson cited low costs of living in Tennessee and efficient distribution as other reasons for their move. Mayor Domenic Sarno also saying he will work with local leaders to help the impacted families.