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AOL Plans Cuts

Several hundred workers at America Online's Dulles campus will be laid off starting Feb. 15, the company announced Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Within a 15-day window, 444 employees will lose their jobs in part of a shift in AOL's business strategies. The company is moving from being a subscriber-based business to a Web-services company.

"This was sort of anticipated back in August," David Bennett, from the county's department of economic development, said. "It is lower than we had anticipated."

This summer, AOL announced that it would be laying off 5,000 employees across the country as it switched. The company will begin offering its services for free and raising money through advertisements.

There has been no word on which departments will be experiencing cuts, but there are more than 5,000 employees working at the Dulles campus. It is the county's largest private employer, surpassed only by the Loudoun County Public Schools.

"We are saddened about the effected employees and their families, however, we are confident that they will quickly be able to find new job opportunities in today's market in Loudoun County and the region," Supervisor Lori Waters (R-Broad Run), chair of the board's economic development committee, said in a statement.

The latest data shows that Loudoun's unemployment rate is the lowest reported since January 2001. In October, the rate was 1.5 percent, topping 13 months with the rate below 2 percent in the county.