Officials with family-owned Thunderbird and Formula Powerboat laid off 62 employees Friday.

“It feels like we’re in the perfect storm,” said Plant Manager Pat Laux.

He says although Thunderbird is struggling there are no plans to close their doors. He says 215 employees remain.

Thunderbird boats and Fleetwood RV are the major employers in Decatur. Less than two weeks ago Fleetwood announced a scale back in hours for their employees.

Decatur Mayor John Shultz says he’s very concerned for his community. He says finding a job in the small town of Decatur is even more of a challenge because no local employers are hiring.

Since the beginning of December Thunderbird officials say they've let go 225 people. That's more than half its workforce in the past 90 days. But, company officials hope those layoffs aren't permanent.

“We were hoping that this thing wasn't going to get near or as bad as it has gotten,” said Laux on the economy. “And we hung onto a lot of staffing longer than we needed to, longer than we maybe should have. But, there’s a time when you just have to get real with it. The sales have fallen off that far and we're trying to match that demand.”

Laux cites poor sales and the credit crunch for the cuts. Laux says he hopes to call the employees back once the economy recovers, but doesn't expect that to happen for at least six more months.

Shultz says he'll continue to apply for federal aid to get his community through this tough time.

“We've got a lot of things pressing on us economically on this industry,” said Laux. “The fact that we build boats feels like we're riding this storm out. And we think we're a strong enough company we're going to get through, that's our plan.”

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