Franklin mayor says closing of Caterpillar plant and loss of 150 jobs will hurt mountain town

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FRANKLIN, North Carolina — A factory that makes seals for heavy equipment in Franklin is closing by the end of next year, leaving 150 people without jobs.

Franklin Mayor Bob Scott told media outlets the town learned about the closing of the Caterpillar plant Thursday.

The mayor says about everyone in the town of 4,000 in far western North Carolina knows someone who works there.

Caterpillar is also closing a foundry in Toccoa, Georgia, with 125 workers. The work will be consolidated to the company's Mapleton, Illinois, foundry.

Caterpillar will try to help workers find jobs at other factories and will pay severance packages.

The Caterpillar plant in Franklin opened in the early 1990s.

Franklin is in Macon County, which had an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent in November, same as the state's rate.

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