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State to dispatch team to help after factory closing

By Staff
From staff and wire reports
Jan. 12, 2002
JACKSON Gov. Ronnie Musgrove says Mississippi will send an emergency response team to help Clarke County deal with losing 850 jobs at a Burlington Industries textile plant.
Musgrove said Friday that officials will help displace employees file for unemployment benefits and seek new jobs. Staff members from his office and the Mississippi Development Authority will be in Clarke County next week.
Burlington Industries announced on Thursday it plans to sell or close its plant in Stonewall on March 31, costing all 850 workers their jobs.
The Stonewall plant is one of five Burlington plans to close or sell by March 31. The company is closing its denim division plants, blaming foreign competition and a weak economy.
The company filed for bankruptcy protection last year.
The Stonewall plant has been in operation since the 1860s and is by far the largest employer in Clarke County. Burlington, headquartered in North Carolina, has owned and operated the plant since 1962.
Several other plant closings have been announced in Mississippi in recent months.
Emerson Motors, Lafayette County's largest manufacturer, said this week it will close its Oxford plant by the end of the year. The dishwasher and clothes dryer motor plant employs 500; layoffs will begin within two months.
MDA and the governor's staff organized job fairs in Winston and Jackson counties after plant closings there last year. Musgrove said the state will take similar steps in Clarke County.
Clarke County had a 15.2 percent unemployment rate one of the highest jobless rates in the state before the Burlington shutdown was announced. In September Nazareth/Century Mills in Quitman closed, laying off 200 workers.
State officials are counting on a Nissan plant under construction in Madison County to help revive Mississippi's stagnant economy. The plant is scheduled to open in 2003, creating up to 4,000 direct jobs.
Nissan is also spurring job growth as suppliers move into Mississippi. Those spin-off businesses could create thousands of additional jobs for Mississippians.