Hancock County’s largest employer is cutting jobs.The Jackson Laboratory has announced 55 job cuts. More than 300 other employees will have their hours reduced.Rumors have been circulating for weeks and the announcement really isn’t a big surprise but it’s one that will affect the entire lab community.”It’s a very difficult thing.”The Jackson Lab is known around the world for its scientific research and its mice. Officials say not even their reputation could completely protect them from the effects of declining economic conditions.”Downturn in pharmaceutical industry, the bio tech industry and in academic research has affected our sales of mice and research services and so we just have no alternative but to reduce our workforce and size it for the demand we are experiencing.”55 employees will lose their jobs.”We’ve put together the most generous severance package we could scrape together under the circumstances. They’ll get a couple of weeks severance pay plus another week for each year of service and we will help them with the cobra payments for continued health care.”The number could have been higher. More than 300 people will have their hours cut in a move to save more jobs. the suggestion was made by the employees.”I think people are willing to make sacrifice when they know they are helping their fellow co-workers and I know it’s not easy to see some of our co-workers maybe not be here as these decisions are made but overall we are going to be keeping a large number of us still here and that’s a really good thing.””We are taking these actions with deep regret and humility and we hope that we’ll be able to bring all those part time people back to work as soon as possible.”Lab officials say their scientific research is funded through grants and private donations so that will not be affected.They believe the reduction in hours is temporary.They tell me they hope to everyone back up to 40 hours in 8 or 9 months.