Gorham Paper and Tissue, the town’s largest employer, is temporarily cutting back operations, a move that will lead to 20 to 50 employees losing their jobs.
The company says other employees will see week-long layoffs.
In an email Friday, CEO Mike Cummings says the move is in response to record-setting natural gas prices.
Gorham Town Manager Robin Frost says the news is devastating for the town’s economy.
“We thought we were on the upswing as far as the mill being open as far as hiring back people and hiring new people. And it just doesn’t seem like…it doesn’t seem like they can catch a break at this point.”
She says she already has emails out to state officials seeking assistance on getting the mill back to full capacity.
Gov. Maggie Hassan says state officials from the departments of Resources and Economic Development and Employment Security will provide whatever support they can to affected workers.
The paper mill re-opened in 2011 under new ownership.
The mill had to be shut down for three days last month, the second shutdown last year related to high gas prices.
The company says it will reevaluate its staffing when prices return to seasonal norms later this year in the spring.