Timber giant Georgia-Pacific will idle two rural South Carolina wood-product plants that employ 240 workers by the end of the year, blaming sluggish conditions in the U.S. home-building industry.
The Atlanta-based company said it will continue production at its sites in McCormick and Allendale counties for up to 60 days.
Afterward, both plants will be idled and "maintained in a ready state to begin production should the long-range forecast for market conditions change," Georgia-Pacific said in a written statement.
The anticipated shutdown for both sites is Dec. 21, according to layoff notices filed last week with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.
All employees will be let go once production ends, except for crews needed to manage inventory and maintain the properties. All displaced workers will be eligible to collect unemployment benefits.
“Although new-home construction demand has returned somewhat since the recession in 2007/2008, it has not returned to pre-recession levels,” said Satrick Anthony, Georgia-Pacific's vice president for building products operations.
He added that the workers at both locations "have done everything they can to make the sites profitable — but unfortunately, it has not been enough to overcome the current market conditions.”
The McCormick plant began churning out lumber in 1966 and has been owned by Georgia-Pacific for 31 years. It has 98 full-time employees.
The Allendale facility is in Fairfax. It which makes a composite wood product called oriented strand board and has 142 full-time staffers. It opened in 2006 and Georgia-Pacific acquired it in 2010.
The company said it will to hold employment fairs at each location to help workers find new jobs.
Georgia-Pacific operates five other forest-product manufacturing sites in South Carolina with about 1,000 employees, in Alcolu, Darlington, Prosperity and Spartanburg.