Blytheville mill cuts 300 jobs

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BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. -- Three-hundred people in Mississippi County, Arkansas, were out of a job Friday.

Steel pipe supplier Tenaris Hickman Steel in Blytheville announced the massive layoff at the mill. The company, which provides the pipes for oil wells, said drastic falls in oil prices, along with imports from South Korea, left them no choice but to cut jobs, saying the demand just isn't there.

Employees said the announcement of the layoffs happened at a meeting Friday morning.

"Oh, it's devastating. I mean, it's right after Christmas, it's just terrible," Karen Abscher, who has been apart of the team at Tenaris Hickman Steel for the last five years, said.

Her job is safe, but said she was shocked when she learned of the layoffs.

"There was rumors, but that's all that we knew was that they were rumors, there was nothing set in stone," she said.

The Blytheville mill isn't the only mill seeing cuts. A total of 500 jobs have been lost from other mills in Texas as well.

"I knew several people that got laid off. They have families, and a couple of girls that I knew had newborn babies," Abscher said.

Tim Stout lives across the street from the mill. He's seen it develop over the years, and said the loss of jobs is a blow to the area.

"It's probably really going to hurt Mississippi County and the town of Blytheville. Our small school district of Armorel has really grown since the mills came in and people moving to the area," Stout said.

Abscher said there are rumors for more cuts down the road. For now, she's thinking of those who loss their jobs and hope hers will be OK come Monday.

"I just hope I make the cut," she said.

WREG reached out to Tenaris Hickman Steel to see if they plan to make anymore cuts or if any employees will possibly get their jobs back down the road, but haven't heard back yet.