Qwest closing Duluth call center

Fifty-two Qwest employees are losing their jobs at a Duluth directory service call center.

Qwest is closing two of its four call centers nationwide, the other in Pueblo Colorado. Spokeswoman Joanna Hjelmeland said the Duluth center will close February 5, and that displaced workers can apply for a limited number of openings in another center in Utah. She said the job of directory service is being taken over by technology.

"People are finding a lot of alternatives now than the traditional calling 411 from their home phone," Hjelmeland said. "The trends in directory assistance have led a lot of people to free online directory assistance or directory assistance through their cell phones versus their home phones, so we've seen a steady decrease in call volume."

Qwest continues to be a major employer in Duluth with a combined workforce of about 100 sales and technical workers.

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