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Owens Corning announces layoffs

A sagging housing market is forcing Owens Corning to lay off one production line of workers numbering anywhere from 140 to 160 employees at their Bethlehem plant in Feura Bush by the end of the year.

It's the first bit of negative economic news for a town that has been accustomed to hearing how businesses like the much anticipated Vista Technology Park want to locate here.

Spokesman for Owens Corning Jason Saragian said the layoffs are due to a weakening demand for building materials and are not tied to the overall U.S. economy. Employees of Owens Corning first heard the company news late last week.

We haven't laid anybody off currently, said Saragian, who said the first layoffs at the local plant would not occur until Jan. 1.

There is no plan to shut the local plant down completely, according to Saragian.

"It's a volume issue due to the market," Saragian said.

The downturn in the housing market began in the second half of 2006 and according to Saragian the trend has continued in 2007.

"It's simply a matter of an oversupply in the housing market," Sargian said.

Owens Corning is a Fortune 500 company founded in 1938. It is considered a market innovator in fiberglass technology.

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