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Apr 3, 2014 5:03 PM

Fruit Of The Loom Closing Jamestown Plant

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - More than 600 workers will lose their jobs under Fruit of the Loom's plans to close its plant in Jamestown.

The company said it was moving the plant's textile operations to Honduras to save money. The company plans to close the plant in phases from June 8 through Dec. 31.

"It is very unexpected for me and, from what I'm hearing, for everyone in the community," said Sen. Sara Beth Gregory, whose district includes Jamestown. "I think everyone is reeling from the news."

In a news release, the company said its decision was "to align its global supply chain to allow the company to leverage existing investments and meet customer requirements more timely and cost effectively."

"This decision is in no way a reflection on the dedication and efforts of the employees in our Jamestown facility, but is a result of a competitive global business environment", Tony Pelaski, the company's executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a news release.

A company news release said the plant has 601 workers.

The company said it will give the employees a 60-day notice before eliminating their jobs, and it has notified state and local officials "to provide any available assistance." The plant will close in phases between June 8 and Dec. 31.

Russell County's unemployment rate was 11.5 percent in February, up from 10.3 percent in January. Of the 8,103 people in the civilian labor force, 934 did not have a job, according to the latest numbers from the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training. Unemployment rates increased in 56 of the state's 120 counties from February 2013 to February 2014. Unemployment rates fell in 55 counties, while rates in nine counties did not change.

Fruit of the Loom is headquartered in Bowling Green.

"A lot of manufacturing jobs, particularly in apparel, have been lost from this region over the last decade or so," Gregory said. "It's a sad day for Russell County, and really for the whole region."

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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