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Factory jobs trickle back to the US, giving hope to once-booming mill towns

J.W. "Bill" Marriott, Jr., right, Executive Chairman Marriott International, tours the Standard Textile plant in Thomaston, Ga.  Photo: Courtesy of Standard Textile.

THOMASTON, Ga. -- Not so long ago, this rural town an hour outside Atlanta was a hotbed for textile manufacturing.

In the late 1990s, there were six major mills here. Their machines spun children's clothing for Carter's, made tire cords for B.F. Goodrich and produced bed sheets for J.C. Penney, Sears and Walmart...

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