Lordstown GM plant closure begs question; what's next?

Posted at 6:13 PM, Dec 05, 2018
and last updated 2019-03-06 12:44:35-05

When the General Motors Lordstown plant announced a possible shutdown, experts in the area said the impact stretches further than the city. 

GM's announcement to stop producing the Chevy Cruz was not a surprise to Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber President James Dignon. He said after the first and second round of shift cuts at the plant over the last 18 months, he knew it was only a matter of time. 

RELATED: In GM announcement's wake, Lordstown presses ahead with TJ Maxx project

He said the Youngstown-Warren workforce is about 180,000 people strong, and about one percent are GM employers. 

Dignon said the impact will be widespread, and not too painful at first for the Mahoning Valley. 

“More diffused. We have people living anywhere from Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Cuyahoga Falls, Youngstown, Warren, Pittsburgh," he said. 

Decades ago, he said it would be a different story. 

If the plant shuts down for good, Dignon said it will leave a few scratches, but industrial work is second nature in the area. 

“Industrial production and manufacturing is in our blood. It’s what we do. It’s what we are good at. We were good at it in the beginning of the 20th century. We are good at it in the 21st century," he said. “The Mahoning Valley is here, open for business, and ready for what’s next.”