Eatonton lumber mill to lay off 55

Rayonier plans to lay off 55 workers and suspend operations at its lumber mill in Eatonton.

“With the terrible housing market and the economy showing no sign of improving, we cannot be good to anybody operating at a loss,” company spokesman Mike Bell said Monday.

The mill will shut down April 10, and the company has given affected employees a 60-day notice of the layoffs, Bell said.

Twelve workers will stay to maintain equipment, he said, “in the hopes that we can recall our people back.”

The average wage at the mill is $15.27 an hour, said Bell. The average hourly wage is $19.37 when benefits are factored in, he said.

The company also plans to suspend operations at its mill in Baxley.

Rayonier owns more than 2.5 million acres of timber, including 820,00 acres in Georgia.