Sara Lee Corp is close the manufacturing operations of its JE Morgan Knitting Mills plant, with the loss of 460 jobs over the next 20 months.

Company officials said Tuesday that production of thermal underwear currently being carried out at the Schuylkill County plant is being moved to cheaper manufacturers overseas.

Sara Lee bought JE Morgan Knitting Mills three years ago, and workers have been told the layoffs will begin in two months.

Christopher J Romano, Sara Lee's vice president of manufacturing, said the sewing department will close on 31 January. After that, he said, cuts in knitting, dyeing and cutting departments will start, as manufacturing moves overseas. He said $800,000 was being put aside to help retrain workers.

This is the latest round of layoffs to hit Sara Lee workers. Earlier this month Sara Lee Hosiery said up to 175 workers in Winston-Salem and Rockingham would lose their jobs as a result of excess capacity on soft sales in the sheer-hosiery business.