Milledgeville plant to close; 150 to lose jobs

MILLEDGEVILLE — Shaw Industries plans to close its plant here next month, putting about 150 people out of work and dealing another punch to Baldwin County’s economy.

“It’s a huge blow,” said Tara Peters, president and CEO of the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce.

The plant, which manufactures yarn fiber for carpet, will shut down by mid- to late February, Shaw officials said in a press release. Hal Long, executive vice president, said the move is needed because of “lower customer demand for many products, including flooring.”

Shaw’s announcement follows layoffs in October at the Rheem air conditioner plant in Baldwin County, where an estimated 400 workers lost their jobs. The county’s unemployment rate in November — the latest figures available from the Georgia Department of Labor — was 11.3 percent, said Sam Hall, the labor departmment’s director of communications. The state average in November was 7.4 percent.

Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond on Wednesday pledged state assistance to the workers.

“The layoff at Shaw Industries in Milledgeville will create a difficult situation for the workers and their families,” Thurmond said in a news release, “and I want them to know they’re not alone in dealing with this problem. Our staff will work closely with the laid-off workers, company officials, and local elected officials in determining how to best assist the affected employees.”

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Telegraph.