- Associated Press - Friday, November 6, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Walker Machinery Company has announced that 77 of its employees will be laid off.

Local news agencies report that the company, which employs about 500 people, says slow economic conditions and a slumping coal industry are forcing the layoffs.

Walker Machinery Company deals Caterpillar equipment and has eight facilities throughout West Virginia, including locations in Belle and Nitro.

Prior to the decision, the company offered employees jobs in other areas of the company’s territory, including relocation packages.

Belle Mayor Glen Chestnut says the layoffs could be devastating to the town’s economy.

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