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Kmart closing adds to Connersville jobless woes

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The 1,550 jobs that could be created in Connersville via Carbon Motors can’t come soon enough for residents of the city in eastern Indiana.

With a December unemployment rate of 13.8 percent, the fourth-highest in the state, Fayette County’s attempts to lower the figure took another hit, albeit a small one, from Kmart Corp.

The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based discount retailer has informed the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that it will close its Connersville store by the end of May, leaving 59 employees jobless.

Kmart provided no reason for the closing but said cuts will begin on May 17.

It’s at least the fourth Kmart to close in Indiana during the past year. A Jeffersonville location closed earlier this month, sending 69 employees out of work. Forty-eight employees lost their jobs when a Kmart in Martinsville closed in November. And in July, 67 workers were displaced when a store closed in Vincennes.

Five Kmart stores in Indianapolis remain open, as well as one in Brownsburg and one in Greenwood.

Meanwhile, Carbon Motors is awaiting approval of a $310 million federal loan so it can begin producing an energy-efficient police car. Work—and hiring—is expected to begin in 2012.

But the company is already getting ready, planning a job fair this spring to help residents polish resumes and have a pool of applicants ready to go when it's time to fill the 1,550 jobs the company expects to create.

Carbon Motors announced in July that it had selected Connersville for its proposed headquarters and manufacturing operations.

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