Sudden Layoff Takes Fresno Couple by Surprise

March 3, 2009 12:55:29 AM PST
The boxes are packed and Jason and Stephanie Beltran are ready to move into a new home. But, they discovered they aren't going anywhere. Jason just lost his job."The owners announced that the company was closing and we were going to receive our last pay checks and that was it. Pack, your clean your desk off and go home and that was it." Jason said.

Jason was working at the Bominite Corporation plant in Madera. The company, which makes concrete additives, shut down last week. Jason says 25 people were let go.

"With my wife being pregnant and with the anticipation of closing escrow on a new house in a couple of weeks it was really, really traumatizing."

Stephanie is five months pregnant, and the couple has two other children. They were expecting to move into a new home in Madera, but now, with Jason out of work, the deal fell through. Stephanie says it was an unexpected shock.

"Well, before this it felt like it was happening to everybody, else. Every day, we would thank God we're so good, we're so lucky, and then, all of the sudden, oh wait a minute it, hit us." She said.

Jason who worked in customer service says he knew the company was having some problems. He says there were about 6 layoffs in the Madera plant late last year, but since then, things seemed fine. He was really optimistic, especially after hearing the Presidents speech last week.

"Just the night before I was watching Obama and how inspiring and how he was going to free up credit and start forcing the banks to loan more money and then I go to work and they tells us they can't get any more money from the banks." He said.

The owner of the Bominite Corporation told us he had no comment on the company's situation. Jason is looking for work. They're fortunate Stephanie still has a job, and can get health insurance. They're hoping they can stay in the rental house, they were all set to move out of.

"That's the first step, in keeping a home and having a place to stay. Just kind of figure it out from there and see how it goes." Jason said.

Stephanie adds, "It's just really hard, I just have to try to mentally let it get to me because I know stress isn't good. It's very, very discouraging."

With California's unemployment rate now over ten per cent, and the Valley figures several points higher, stories like the Beltrans are becoming increasingly common.

Fresno City College Economist Henry Nishimoto believes the economy is likely to get worse in the short term, but expects the Federal Stimulus Package to start kicking in within a few months. He doesn't expect an economic recovery to begin until the end of this year, or the start of the next.

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