Clipper Magazine laid off 40 of the 600 employees at its Mountville headquarters Thursday, a company spokesperson said. Clipper has an additional 600 employees who work in 30 states across the country, for a total of 1,200 employees nationwide.

"Our business model has changed a little bit, and our efficiency has increased. So we eliminated positions we no longer need," the spokesperson said.

The affected positions were primarily in art production and sales support. New technology was one factor in the need for fewer people, the spokesperson said. The second factor was a change in how markets are being served. Clipper is testing larger mailing zones in some markets.

"We are hitting the same number of households with fewer versions of our magazine. Fewer versions require fewer people needed to produce those editions", the spokesperson explained. The layoffs will not affect the publications that people receive in their homes, now mailed in 500 markets in 30 states, the spokesman emphasized. Clipper Magazine sales were up in 2011, the spokesperson said, though declining to disclose the figure.

"And we have a lot of growth ahead of us. We still have two-thirds of the United States to cover," the spokesperson added. Clipper Magazine also is planning several new product launches which will be disclosed in the coming months, but the focus today is on their employees.

"We have a great group of very dedicated and caring employees, who just lost 40 friends and coworkers and we are committed to doing what we can to help those employees make a smooth transition out of the company." Clipper will be utilizing the services provided by Lancaster County CareerLink's Rapid Response Team, and will be holding a meeting with the affected employees next week to make sure they have information about all of the programs and benefits that are available to them as a result of the business change.

Clipper Magazine was started in 1983 by two Franklin & Marshall College juniors who put black-and-white coupon sheets in the mailboxes of the college's students. It was acquired by Gannett in 2003. Clipper Magazine is based at 3708 Hempland Road in Mountville.