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Memphis call center expects to lay off most of its workers by July; center opened last year


MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Improvements in Memphis' unemployment rate may soon take a hit after call center Conduit Global announced plans to lay off nearly 600 workers.

The company delivered the news to employees Wednesday. With a work force of about 700 employees, about 590 will be laid off by early July.

"It's unfortunate news, obviously, for the people affected," Kevin Gaugush, a senior executive for kgb USA Inc., the New York City-based company doing business as Conduit Local.

Gaugush said workers may consider available openings at the company's other call centers in San Antonio and McLeansville, North Carolina.

The Commercial Appeal reports that ( in January 2014, Tennesse Gov. Bill Haslam and local officials led a rally applauding the company's decision to open a call center in Memphis. The company began serving customers last June.

Greater Memphis' unemployment rate had dropped to 6.5 percent in March from 8.2 percent in July 2014.

Mayor A C Wharton said programs are available to retrain workers who are laid off for high-tech and industrial jobs.

"For those individual employees at Conduit Global, it's dark and I understand that," Wharton said. "But we're going to hit the ground running and try to get them into new jobs."

Information from: The Commercial Appeal,

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