Siemens’ decision to close Dresser-Rand’s Wellsville manufacturing facility over the next two years will have a significant impact on manufacturing employment and overall employment in Allegany County. The announcement yesterday indicated that the decision was made “to offset capacity surplus and price erosion caused by broad energy market changes.” The factory has approximately 250 employees, makes turbines for power generation and was acquired by Siemens in 2015 when it bought Dresser-Rand. The business dates back to 1916 when Moore Steam Turbine Co. opened the plant. A portion of the business is being sold to Curtiss-Wright which was once the second largest manufacturing company in America when it was headquartered in Buffalo.
According to the most recent data available from the NYS Department of Labor, total direct manufacturing employment in Allegany County as of December 2017 was approximately 2,000, accounting for over 12% on nonfarm employment in Allegany. The loss of 200 jobs (Curtiss-Wright reportedly intends “to extend offers of employment to approximately 50 employees”) would reduce manufacturing employment in Allegany by 10% and overall employment by 1.27%. It is worth noting that manufacturers throughout WNY and beyond continue to struggle to find skilled manufacturing workers. That suggests that many in Dresser-Rand’s experienced workforce will have manufacturing opportunities, although they may not pay as well or be in Wellsville.