Two Covington plant closures announced in less than a week - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Justin Hanson

Two Covington plant closures announced in less than a week

COVINGTON, TN (WMC-TV) - The economic crisis is forcing two plants in Tipton County to close their doors. 

Abitibi Bowater will close its doors by the end of this year, and Burnes Home Accents is set to close its distribution facility by February 4th of next year.

It was devastating news for a community that relies on its industrial base, and local leaders say the situation will probably get worse before it gets better.

Monday, there were only six jobs posted on the bulletin board inside the Tennessee Career Center office in Covington, a far cry from the 160 jobs needed to fill the void created after the announcement the two Covington plants would close their doors.

"It's the worst I've seen it in my 30 years here. People are desperate," said Tennessee Career Center director Sandy Spurgeon.

Some say the announcements are a reflection of what's going on across the country.

"We found out last week we're in a recession, and have been for an entire year," Duane Lavery with the Southwest Tennessee Economic Development Authority said.

In the coming weeks and months, officials with the Tennessee Workforce Board will be visiting plants like Burnes, going in and talking to employees about what they need to do to get additional training and find new jobs.

Career center employees also help those losing their jobs.  In addition to filing unemployment claims, they also help clients look for jobs online and create or update their resumes.

"We register them for work when they come in," Spurgeon said. "If any jobs come in, we will match them up to that job and refer them out."

And as the number of available jobs decreases, officials fear more layoffs and closures will continue to go up.  

The Tennessee Career Center in Covington offers free assistance to those affected by layoffs or plant closures. Call 901-475-2529 to find out more.

Click here to send an email to Justin Hanson.

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