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Associated Press, Published September 02 2009

Bobcat shutdown bursts Bismarck's 'golden bubble'

BISMARCK, N.D. - Economic development officials say Bobcat Co.'s decision to shut its Bismarck manufacturing plant will take some of the glow from the city's growth.

Bismarck-Mandan Development Association President Russ Staiger says the city has been living in "a golden bubble that has burst." But he says the region's economy is diversified, and Bobcat's move won't ruin the local job picture.

Bobcat is cutting its Bismarck work force from 625 employees to 150 and transferring 475 jobs to the company's Gwinner plant in southeastern North Dakota. The phase-out is to be finished by year's end.

Bobcat makes light construction equipment at Gwinner, including skid-steer loaders and compact track loaders.

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