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Newspapers in Missoula and Butte have announced layoffs this week.

On Tuesday, The Missoulian laid off four employees and two others were told their jobs will end Feb. 13 as part of a work force reduction. The Montana Standard in Butte laid off two full-time and four part-time employees on Monday.

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The slowdown in the local and national economy prompted the decision to reduce expenses in payroll and other areas, the newspapers said.

As part of the cutbacks, the Missoulian and Standard will join with the Helena Independent Record, The Billings Gazette and Casper, Wyo., Star Tribune to open a centralized circulation customer service call center in Billings. The five newspapers are owned by Lee Enterprises.

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