Dresser-Rand has laid off 39 employees at its Olean plant as the turbine maker grapples with the fallout from a 34 percent drop in its new order bookings last year.
The layoffs amount to about 5 percent of the company's work force in Olean, which numbers around 800.
The layoffs will begin next week and will run indefinitely, said Daniel Wallace, the company's North American human resources director.
"We're not sure" how long the layoffs will last, Wallace said Thursday. "It's all going to depend upon our bookings."
Wallace said 36 of the employees volunteered for the layoff, while three others were laid off involuntarily.
Dresser-Rand's new order bookings dropped by 34 percent last year -- the company's first decline in new orders since 2002.
"Our efforts during the last eight years to implement a flexible manufacturing model are paying off," Vincent Volpe, Dresser-Rand's chief executive officer, said during the conference call. "We are effectively weathering the storm without major restructuring or extended plant closures."
Dresser-Rand booked $1.7 billion in new orders last year, down from $2.5 billion in 2008. Orders for new equipment plunged by 49 percent, although company officials said the pace of orders picked up in the fourth quarter and they expect the rebound to continue into this year. Orders for replacement parts were off by 15 percent last year.