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About 50 Smead employees in Hastings to lose their jobs

As of March 18, roughly 50 employees at Smead Manufacturing's Hastings location will be out of work. The layoffs are a direct result of high unemployment, which has adversely affected Smead's sales.

"It's no secret that unemployment remains exceedingly high," said Smead's vice president of marketing, Jim Riesterer.

Smead makes products to help people stay organized - items that often find primary use in businesses.

"Our level of sales is very much tied to the unemployment rate, as well as the overall economy," Riesterer said.

Another factor is the level of competition Smead faces. Many competitors have moved their productions out of the country in order to lower costs, "which is making it more difficult for us to compete," Riesterer said.

In order to keep up, Smead is continuing the efforts every business makes to size its workforce to the realities of its market, he said.

"It's unfortunate that it results in a number of employees having to lose their jobs," he said.

With more than 1,000 employees, this set of layoffs represents less than 5 percent of the company's workforce. In Minnesota, Smead employs 300 to 400 people.

"It's a difficult situation when anyone loses their position," Riesterer said.

"We remain committed to the community, we remain committed to building our business and will continue to be a good corporate citizen."