Alabama sock companies lay off hundreds of workers

FORT PAYNE, Ala. (AP) - Two north Alabama sock companies are laying off hundreds of workers and reducing production because of the tough economic times.

Cooper Hosiery Mills in Fort Payne reports that it plans to lay off about 250 employees.

That's more than a quarter of its workforce.

Meanwhile, Ben-Mar Hosiery in Fort Payne is cutting 45 of its 120 total positions.

The head of the DeKalb Economic Development Authority, Jimmy Durham, said a third company, Gildan-Prewett Hosiery, recently cut back its work week to four days.

Durham said many of the cuts are linked to the problems businesses are having obtaining loans.

He says DeKalb County has lost almost half of its 6,000 jobs in the sock industry since 2005.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)