School bus manufacturer Blue Bird Corp. announced Thursday that flagging demand is forcing the company to close its North Georgia plant by the end of August.

Some 350 workers from will lose their jobs as Blue Bird moves certain body assembly operations from the LaFayette, Ga., facility to Fort Valley, continuing a consolidation of production capabilities near its Middle Georgia headquarters.

“This was a difficult decision, and one not arrived at without significant deliberation,” said Greg Bennett, Blue Bird’s president and CEO, in a statement. “However, in the face of the challenging U.S. economic climate, the school bus industry has declined in recent years, and we recognize that we must adjust our production capacity to meet demand in order to remain competitive.”

The company said it will provide affected employees with severance pay, continued benefits and assistance with unemployment benefits.

Blue Bird, which is more than 80 years old, has sales in more than 60 countries all over the world. 

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...