Silent majority makes up large part of economy

STATE COLLEGE — In 2002, Murata Electronics employed about 1,200 people in Centre County. Among them were David Hellyer and Terri Breindel.

In 2003, the two compared notes and saw the writing on the wall — the plant that had employed hundreds in Ferguson Township for more than 40 years was shutting down.

“Murata went from 1,200 employees to zero in two years,” Hellyer said. “Who would have thought that was possible?”

It was a second hit to an area already rocked by the closure of Corning-Asahi in 2003, which put 1,000 people out of work.

Hellyer and Breindel knew they were facing a tough job market, full of many trained, experienced workers and few jobs.

So instead of jumping back into the job pool, they struck out on their own.

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