Dell to close N.C. plant, lay off 905 employees

Almost four years to the day after Dell opened its highly touted desktop computer production plant in Winston-Salem, the company said Wednesday it will close the factory and lay off its 905 workers.

In doing so, the computer maker is forgoing most of the nearly $280 million in state and local incentives that were offered to lure the project to the Tar Heel state.

Dell will close the plant in January, dealing a setback for Forsyth County, where the August unemployment rate was 9.8 percent. About 600 of those layoffs will happen next month.

State officials will work with Dell to help laid-off workers find other jobs or training opportunities. The company plans to provide severance and other financial assistance.

"As a state, we will continue to aggressively pursue new business and job opportunities," Gov. Beverly Perdue said in a statement. "This state has been hit hard, but North Carolinians are resilient, and we know how to adapt and overcome challenges."

Perdue is scheduled to attend a news conference this afternoon about new "green jobs" at Cree, a Durham high-tech company.

Drawing the Dell plant to North Carolina was a high-publicity, high-controversy affair. The General Assembly convened a special session to approve the incentives, and the deal prompted a lawsuit over using taxpayer money to entice a corporation.

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