United Knitting lays off workers in Cleveland, Tenn.

United Knitting lays off workers in Cleveland, Tenn.

September 25th, 2012 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Gary Farlow, CEO of the Cleveland Bradley County Chamber of Commerce

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

United Knitting in Cleveland, Tenn., has laid off 10 employees, nearly 20 percent of its personnel, because of a lack of work, an official said Monday.

The layoffs at the company were completed last month, said Glenda Epperson, its human resources director. Four other former employees left voluntarily, she said.

Epperson said the company now has 54 people at its Cleveland facility. She said the workforce reductions are expected to be the last for 2012. The company's last round of layoffs was in 2009, the official said.

As late as 2007, the company had more than 125 workers when United Knitting was recognized by the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce with its annual industry appreciation award.

The company makes specialty fabrics for the outdoor, fitness, team sports, military, work wear and protective markets. Hoover's estimated United Knitting's annual sales at more than $12 million.

Gary Farlow, chief executive of the Cleveland, Tenn., Chamber of Commerce, said there are few textile companies left in the county. Nationwide, apparel jobs have declined by nearly two thirds since 2001, according to a recent report by the Brookings Institute.

Much of that business has moved out of the United States and into Latin America or overseas.

Farlow said the company has produced fabrics for such businesses as Under Armour. He said the company makes some garments that have anti-melting properties at high temperatures as well as odor prevention imbedded into the fabrics.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.