150 People Laid Off From the Walmart Optical Lab

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) - More than a hundred people are without jobs today, following the announcement of layoffs from Walmart. 

The Walmart Optical Lab in Fayetteville employs a workforce of nearly 600 people, but now they're reducing that number by 150 people. 

The company said the layoffs are the result of improving technology. The optical lab, which makes customized, prescription glasses, can now do more with fewer people. 

Those losing their jobs will be given two months a pay and severance, if they choose to leave the company. 

In a statement, Walmart said, in part: 

"We are committed to helping the associates impacted by this decision take advantage of new opportunities and are hopeful that we will be able to help many of the associates find other roles at nearby Walmart stores or Sam’s Clubs."

Steve Clark with the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce says while layoffs are never good, the economy in Northwest Arkansas is strong. 

"In a low unemployment climate like we have, if it has to happen, this is probably one of the better places for it to happen, when you're in an area that's got 6, 7, 8 percent unemployment or higher, you can look and look and look and never get a job," Clark explained.

Walmart is the third largest employers in Fayetteville but Clark said companies big and small are looking to hire. 

Clark said even as technology makes some jobs obsolete, it creates new opportunities as more people are needed to operate high tech machinery.  

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