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Karastan Announces Layoffs In Rug Division

Forty-seven workers in the rug-making division are the latest victims of the housing slump and resulting downturn in home furnishings.

EDEN, N.C. (AP) - Karastan, which makes carpets and rugs, said it will lay off 47 workers at its rug-making division because the slumping housing market has cut demand for home furnishings.

The plant will still employ about 550 workers, and the company will continue to make commercial and residential carpeting at the facility, said Scott Mair, the company's director of manufacturing. Karastan will lower its production of rugs.

''This will happen over the next three to four weeks. Our most senior people will get better job options,'' Mair said.

The plant is owned by Mowhawk Industries of Calhoun, Ga.

Karastan competes with handmade rugs from overseas markets in Pakistan and Afghanistan, along with machine-made rugs from China, India and other countries, Mair said.

''It is foreign competition,'' Mair said. ''The dollar is weak against those foreign currencies right now.''

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