Philip Morris Closing N.C. Plant, Costing 1,000 Jobs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- About 1,000 employees will lose their jobs as a huge Philip Morris USA cigarette plant closes in Concord.

The Charlotte Observer reported that the plant was to stop production about 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Philip Morris' parent company, Altria, said in 2007 it would consolidate its Concord operations at its Richmond, Va., plant in 2010 because of falling U.S. cigarette sales.

But Altria said in April it would wrap up operations this month because of a continued drop in sales.

Cabarrus County's jobless rate was approaching 12 percent in June, the highest rate in at least 25 years. Philip Morris is the county's biggest taxpayer.

Concord Mayor Scott Padgett says he doesn't know how to replace a company as large as Philip Morris. It's unclear when a new owner might be found for the 2,000-acre site.

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