First Chemical Sells Part Of Plant Operation

More than 25 percent of the staff at First Chemical is going to be laid off now that the company has sold its agriculture and sealant product lines.

Company officer Jim McArthur said both lines were underperforming.

"It's with great regret that we are having to exit this part of the business, and is no way due to anything in Jackson County," McArthur said. "It's a great location."

Pascagoula Mayor Joe Cole says he is sympathic to this newest group of laid-off workers, but he's relieved to know the layoffs were not a reflection on Pascagoula. Mayor Cole hopes some of the other chemical businesses in the area will make room for this laid off employees.

First Chemical will keep the rest of the Pascagoula plant open, keeping more than 130 workers employed.

"We have retained the largest part of our Pascagoula facility, and all the assets there will continue to belong to First Chemical, which has been in Jackson County since 1967," McArthur said.

"We have no plans at all to shut down that facility."

The plant will continue to produce all of its products until the end of June. The layoffs will then be spread out over the next two or three months.