Virginia Paper Companies Suffering In Recession

Recession has wounded Virginia's paper production industry, which employs about 10,500 people making everything from stationery to corrugated cardboard.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The recession has wounded Virginia's paper production industry, which employs about 10,500 people making everything from stationery to corrugated cardboard.

Falling demand and sales has led the Bear Island mill outside Ashland to plan a three-week shutdown, furloughing 200 employees. MeadWestvaco furloughed 80 employees at its Covington plant for at least a month, and announced the closing of its Louisa County plant, which will cost 171 people their jobs.

Smurfit-Stone, meanwhile, which employees about 1090 people at mills and plants in the state, filed for bankruptcy protection in January to help it restructure a heavy debt.

MeadWestvaco President Jim Buzzard, though, told investors last week the market may have bottomed out, and could be regaining strength soon.

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