Belgian flooring firm to expand in Dalton

A Belgian flooring company said Monday it plans to create 200 jobs in Dalton, the latest in a string of new jobs for an industry still trying to emerge from the Great Recession.

The U.S. division of IVC Group plans to invest $80 million over the next five years in a new factory at its Whitfield County campus, according to the state Department of Economic Development. Dalton, 90 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta, touts itself as the Carpet Capital of the World, but other types of flooring are made in the area, as well.

IVC will make luxury vinyl planks and tiles that mimic the look of stone and ceramic tile.

“IVC’s expansion in Dalton reiterates the strength of Georgia to help companies remain competitive in the ever-evolving floor covering industry,” Chris Carr, the state’s economic development commissioner, said in a news release.

A rebound in commercial and residential construction has given a much-need boost to the state’s flooring industry.

Companies including Engineered Floors, Mohawk Industries and Shaw Industries have announced plans recently to hire about 4,000 workers at several plants over the next few years.

The housing bust and Great Recession decimated the metro Dalton area. The Dalton region’s 9.5 percent jobless rate in December is still more than two percentage points higher than the state’s average, and nearly three points higher than the national mark.

The housing collapse was one reason why Georgia’s economy was among the hardest-hit during the recession. The state rode a building binge before the recession and suffered heavy losses in real estate-related jobs, like construction and flooring manufacturing.