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Wausau paper plant closing effects more than just hundreds of its workers

Unemployment image copyright Midwest Communications, Inc.
Unemployment image copyright Midwest Communications, Inc.

WAUSAU, WI (WTAQ) - The closing of the Wausau Paper plant will take away an estimated $27-million a year from the economy of central Wisconsin. That estimate comes from the Marathon County Development Corporation. About 450 employees will lose their jobs when the century-old mill in Brokaw closes next March. But Dave Eckmann, who heads the development group, says another 650 jobs could be lost in industries where the mill workers spend money -- homes, health care, and everything in between. Eckmann said he used state-and-federal labor data to come up with the estimates. This week's announcement of the plant closing was no surprise, since Wausau Paper said a few weeks ago it would sell its premium-print and color-paper division. Neenah Paper bought it, and it's moving the Brokaw production to its plants in Neenah, Appleton, and Stevens Point.