Layoffs hurt Myrtlewood economics

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 3, 2007

PENNINGTON &8212; Residents of Myrtlewood could see a decrease of traffic and commerce in their community setting near the Choctaw County boarder in the near future. That is because one the area&8217;s largest employers, Georgia-Pacific Company&8217;s Naheola Mill, has laid off 33, given severance packages to 30 others and more could be coming.

McKinney said any decrease in traffic to the mill from the Marengo County side of the Tombigbee River will have an adverse economic impact on the small community, which sets on Highway 114 leading to the mill across the boarder in Pennington.

Both McKinney and Loftin noted that the mill doesn&8217;t employ a majority of workers from Marengo County &8212; pulling most of their labor from Choctaw County and Mississippi.

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But they said any job loss

from the mill hurts the area.

Georgia-Pacific spokeswoman Anna Humphress said the Naheola Mill shut down two converting lines, which has lead to the layoffs and severance packages. She said the lines in the distribution center of the mill, which she said where outdated and expensive to operate, are being replaced with new automated guided vehicle technology.

Humphress said another 16 employees are expected to accept volunteer severance packages in the future. She said the layoffs weren&8217;t a surprise for employees, who were informed of the inefficiencies of the operation and the likelihood of the technology update.