(EVANSVILLE) - An Indiana food company that prepares ready-to-eat meals for the military has laid off nearly 50 production workers, citing federal budget cuts and fewer military deployments.
Tim Brauer, the president of Evansville-based AmeriQual, said the company has seen "a substantial drop-off in orders" for some of its military rations products during the past month.
He said the automatic federal budget cuts being made are partly to blame for the slowdown.
"The Department of Defense is looking for any place in the budget where they can cut back," Brauer told the Evansville Courier & Press ( http://bit.ly/18h6Mpd ).
The company had 525 full-time employees at its two Evansville facilities before the 49 layoffs effective Thursday. The most recent previous round of AmeriQual layoffs happened in January 2012, when the company cut 45 jobs.
AmeriQual also makes packaged meals for humanitarian agencies and commercially packaged items for consumer use.
Brauer said the company plans spending $5.5 million on manufacturing equipment this year and was working to increase its nonmilitary business.
"We're doing research and development with a lot of different companies," he said.
State officials cited AmeriQual as an example of Indiana businesses that have been successful in winning Defense Department contracts as they launched a new office in March aimed at attracting more military spending to Indiana.
Officials estimate companies do an estimated $4 billion in defense-related work a year in Indiana.
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