Charlotte-area paper mill to lay off 180 people this summer

The shift from paper to electronic communications means slower business for paper mills such as Charlotte-area Resolute Forest Products, which will shut down down part of its production line this summer as a result of lower customer demand.

Resolute said Thursday that it will idle its paper machine No. 2 in Catawba, S.C., about 33 miles south of Charlotte, on June 30. The move will result in the elimination of 180 jobs.

Resolute has experienced lower demand for all kinds of lightweight, coated paper products, including magazines, catalogs and flyer inserts, according to spokeswoman Debbie Johnston.

“With so much communication shifting to digital, it has an impact on the paper market,” Johnston told the Observer.

Production will be absorbed by Resolute’s other paper machine, No. 3, also in Catawba. That machine is larger and faster, Johnston said.

The company said in a statement that it had made “significant capital investment” to reduce operating costs for the paper machine it is shutting down. Despite these efforts, “economic gains were insufficient to overcome demand decline and price erosion.”

“We recognize the impact this decision will have on our employees, their families and the local community. As is customary, the company will work with affected employees and community representatives to mitigate the impact of the idling,” the company said.

Resolute, a publicly traded Canadian company, employs 600 people in Catawba, where it has a total annual production capacity of 720,000 metric tons of paper products. About 193,000 metric tons of coated paper capacity will be eliminated by the shutting down of paper machine No. 2, Resolute said.

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