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Laid-Off Workers Try to Move on as Textile Industry Struggles

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ERWIN, NC — Thousands of textile workers in North Carolina are finding out that their way of life is coming to an abrupt and painful end.

North Carolina has 132,000 textile workers, more than any other state. But the industry also leads the state in the number of workers laid off. In the past 12 months, 17,000 textile and apparel workers lost their jobs.

As plants continue to close across the state, the small-town businesses and workers left behind are suffering.

Economists say better times, especially in textiles, are nowhere in sight.

Other industries have shrunk as well. Statewide, manufacturing companies shed 38,000-800 workers over the year. Of those, three-thousand were in furniture and four-thousand-600 in transportation equipment.

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