On Friday, March 30, Centex Homes cut its workforce in the Southwest Florida division in half, eliminating nearly 140 jobs at all levels. The layoffs came one day prior to the publicly-held company's fiscal year end on March 31, 2007.

Corporate spokesperson Ken Smalling confirmed that the majority of jobs were cut in Naples, but that the Sarasota market was also affected. Despite the cutbacks, Smalling says Centex is not exiting either of the markets.

In Southwest Florida, the company builds in the communities of Verandah east of Fort Myers, Emerson Square in southern Lee County, plus Lely Resort and TwinEagles in Collier County.

Considering the company's sales, general and administrative expense of nearly 15% as well as especially sluggish sales for all builders in the region, locals report that the layoffs were not a surprise. According to Smalling, the market slowdown spurred the cuts and the recent sub-prime mortgage situation had no relation to this move at all.