Layoffs rise nationally, approaching 160 Chippewa Falls plant workers

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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisc. (WEAU) - New numbers show a rise in mass layoffs nationwide in recent months.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 2,500 mass layoffs nationwide in Aug. and Sept.

One hundred sixty Chippewa Falls workers are set to lose their jobs after the Pactiv plant said it would close by Jan.

Bernard Bresina, who's worked at the plant for 39 years, said many at the plant are concerned about what they'll do when the doors close for good.

"I'm still working. But when the day comes when I'm out of a job, that's when cuts come and I have to live within my means," Bresina said.

At 57-years-old, the group leader and union president is one of more than 62,000 expecting to lose their jobs since Sept., according to Bloomberg News.

However, U.W. Eau Claire economics professor Wayne Carroll said the job outlook is more positive than it may seem.

"We're seeing fewer layoffs now than we saw typically before the great recession, but the brighter story here is the numbers are going to bounce up and down over time," Carroll said.

Bresina said some former coworkers are finding jobs, but since he's been at the plant since he was 18 years old, he said a lack of education, could hurt his chances.

"I've only got five to eight years where I need to work ... But that's what I need to do," he said. "What's gonna come out of this? I'm hoping something brighter. I really do. I feel one door closes, I'm hoping another one opens."

Carroll said presidential policies could have a big effect on job numbers, and Bresina said some businesses are waiting to see who's elected, before filling open positions.