NEW LIMERICK, Maine — A local manufacturing facility has had a good year, hiring 41 new employees and expecting to add more in the first quarter of 2014.
The announcement about the Louisiana-Pacific Corp. plant in New Limerick was made Thursday by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.
The state agency said in a written statement that the L-P plant plans to add as many as 20 more jobs in the first quarter of 2014.
Louisiana-Pacific Corp., one of the leading manufacturers of premium building products in North America, fabricates home building products at 29 manufacturing plants throughout the United States, Canada and Chile.
According to the Department of Economic and Community Development, the company’s growth is a direct result of a rebounding housing market and a subsequent increase in demand for laminated strand lumber and oriented-strand board.
In 2008, Louisiana-Pacific invested more than $140 million to make its New Limerick mill more efficient. The plant was established in 1982 as an oriented-strand board mill. The 2008 expansion converted the site from oriented-strand board production to laminated strand lumber production.
It had 158 employees at the time.
In 2009, because of what company officials characterized as “very low demand for product” and “poor market conditions,” the company was forced to lay off 43 people.
Mary Cohn, spokeswoman for Louisiana-Pacific, which is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., said Thursday afternoon that the New Limerick plant now has 101 employees. She said that the recent boom has come as more people are looking to build houses and other structures, something the company is excited about.
Gene Conlogue, town manager in nearby Houlton, was happy as well. He said Thursday that it was “a much needed economic boost” for the region.
“Anything that happens to one town in southern Aroostook, good or bad, happens to all towns in southern Aroostook,” he said.
Gov. Paul LePage also was glad to hear the news.
“What we are seeing is a Maine economy that is finally heading in the right direction,” he said in the Department of Economic and Community Development press release. “We have improved Maine’s business climate by cutting taxes and removing unnecessary regulations and red tape. All of this has helped the private sector create 8,000 more jobs in a little more than two years and that growth continues. I believe even greater prosperity is possible if we push the envelope and enact bold policies to enhance our overall competitiveness.”
The Department of Economic and Community Development continues to work closely with Louisiana-Pacific, as the company received a $70,000 Workforce Development Grant this year to provide workplace and orientation training for employees.