MADISONVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A seat belt manufacturer in western Kentucky said it would close its plant within 12 months, putting another 220 employees out of work.
Autoliv North America cut 140 jobs in March in order to shift production to Mexico. The company said at the time it would use the Madisonville plant as a distribution facility.
Employees were informed this week of the company's plans to close the plant for good and shift the remaining work to other North American facilities.
The decision to close the plant ''is a difficult but necessary step in our overall plan to stay competitive and create value for our customers and shareholders,'' the company said Wednesday in a statement announcing the closure.
Danny Koon, executive director of the Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development Corp., was ''disappointed'' by the news.
Koon said the number of employers to shift production and closing plants has been increasing every year since 1994, when the North American Free Trade Agreement was implemented.
''This is a NAFTA incident,'' he said. ''You see it in the textiles and garments (manufacturers), and now the auto industry.''
It was at least the second plant in western Kentucky to announce a closure this week. Denim jeans maker Flynn Enterprises announced that it would close its Hopkinsville manufacturing plant, which has 254 workers, later this year.