It’s been almost a month since Electrolux shut down its washer-dryer plant in Webster City and social service workers there are bracing to handle the flood of people needing help. Patti Triebel, director of the Hamilton County Social Service office, says they’re at the ready.

“We haven’t seen a big influx of people yet,” Triebel says. “We’re seeing the tail end of people that are running out of unemployment but the people that were just recently laid off, they’re on unemployment.” The latest unemployment rate for Hamilton County was at 9% for March, while Iowa’s jobless rate for the month was 6.1%.

Triebel says her staff is ready to offer assistance to those who were displaced. “I’m expecting by middle of summer, end of summer that our numbers will pick up,” Triebel says. “There are people that come in that just don’t know what they’re going to do next. We really do try to help them come up with a plan, figure out housing situations, things like that.”

About 500 workers lost their jobs when the 74-year-old Webster City facility closed on March 31st. Electrolux shifted production to a plant in Juarez, Mexico.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City