Fleetwood Closes Another Maryland Travel Trailer Factory

Company also closes plants in California and Texas; 253 lose jobs in Marylan

WILLIAMSPORT, Md. (AP) – Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., headquartered in Riverside, Calif., on Friday abruptly shut its travel trailer manufacturing plant near Williamsport, resulting in the loss of 253 jobs.

The closure, blamed on lagging sales, is the second shutdown of a Fleetwood factory in western Maryland in the past two years.

Lyle Larkin, Fleetwood Enterprises vice president and treasurer, said he did not believe employees were given advance warning of Friday's closure, although the move was widely anticipated within the company.

Also on Friday, Fleetwood closed travel trailer plants in Rialto, Calif., and Longview, Texas.

Employees will get two months' severance pay, in compliance with labor regulations, Larkin said.

Friday was the last day for most of the Williamsport plant's workers, although some will remain until current orders are completed – a process that should take a few weeks, Larkin said.

In April 2005, Fleetwood closed its travel trailer factory in Hancock, Md., eliminating almost 300 jobs.

Company officials said a slowdown in the travel trailer market factored in their decision to close the plant. The company said last month that it expected fiscal third-quarter revenue to fall 25 percent – in part because of a quiet hurricane season.

A year earlier, demand for Fleetwood's products surged in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, when the company built travel trailers to FEMA specifications for disaster relief.

The Williamsport plant produced Prowler, Wilderness and Terry travel trailers.

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