More than half of marine industry unemployed

CHICAGO, Ill. — The National Marine Manufacturers Association estimates that as of late March, marine industry unemployment was more than 50 percent, NMMA President Thom Dammrich told the Springfield Business Journal for an article published yesterday.

Retail boat sales fell off precipitously in July 2008, Dammrich told the newspaper.

In the fourth-quarter of 2008, one in three NMMA members furloughed operations for a period of time, and one in 10 closed down a plant entirely, he added.

"... the numbers I quote are anecdotal," he explained to Boating Industry in an e-mail interview this morning. "They’re an estimate based on feedback from our members and learning firsthand how the shift in the economy and consumers’ purchase habits are impacting our industry. Many manufacturers are changing how they do business to adapt to the new environment so they’re in a stronger position and can rehire staff when things turnaround."

"What it comes down to is that, until the consumer starts feeling more confident about the future," he told the Journal, "they're holding off on some purchases."

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