As it slashes production at two U.S. plants, General Motors announced plans on Jan. 26 to cut 2,000 jobs.
The largest U.S. automaker slashed production by 21% in the fourth quarter of 2008 and cut its first quarter production forecast by 53%. "Although we are bringing all our plants in North America back on line in the first quarter, many of those will have additional downtime in the first and second quarter," GM spokesman Susan Waun said.
The job cuts will come through the elimination of a shift at an Ohio sport utility plant and a Michigan car factory, Waun said. Nine of the automaker's 15 U.S. plants and one plant in Canada will face weekly shutdowns but the breadth of the production cuts has not yet been determined. "This is all done to align our production with market demand and we're obviously monitoring it very closely these days," said Waun. The shifts will be eliminated in March and April.
GM had 62,000 hourly and 29,500 salaried workers at the end of 2008. That is down dramatically from 105,000 hourly and 36,000 salaried workers in 2005, when GM began posting staggering losses which reached $72 billion through the third quarter of last year.
GM's U.S. sales fell 23% in 2008 while total industry sales fell 18% in the steepest annual decline in 29 years to levels not seen since 1992.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009