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Whirlpool cuts 5000 North American and European jobs

Most of the lost jobs are in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, including 1,200 salaried positions and the closing of the company's Fort Smith, Ark., plant. The Fort Smith plant shutdown will affect 884 hourly workers and 90 salaried employees. An additional 800 workers were on layoff from the factory and on a recall list. Whirlpool will also relocate dishwasher production from Neunkirchen, Ger., to Poland in January 2012, a move that Whirlpool says will save the company $400 million by 2014.


October 28, 2011
by The Canadian Press

NEW YORK—Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. will cut 5,000 jobs—about 10 per cent of its workforce in North America and Europe—as it faces soft demand and higher material costs.

Hurt by higher costs and a slowdown in emerging markets, the world’s biggest appliance maker has drastically cut its 2011 earnings outlook and has reported third-quarter results that missed expectations.

Most of the job cuts are in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, including 1,200 salaried positions and the closing of the company’s Fort Smith, Ark., plant, a move that affects 884 hourly workers and 90 salaried employees.

About 800 workers were already on layoff from the factory.

Whirlpool will also relocate dishwasher production from Neunkirchen, Ger., to Poland in January 2012, a move that the company says will save $400 million by 2014.

The company, whose brands include Maytag and KitchenAid, has been blasted by soft demand since the recession and rising costs for materials such as steel and copper.

The gigantic company’s performance provides a window on the economy because it indicates whether consumers are comfortable spending on big-ticket items.

Whirlpool has raised prices to combat higher costs, but demand for items like refrigerators and washing machines remains tight. Whirlpool is also facing discount pressure from competitors.

To offset slowing North American sales, Whirlpool has turned to emerging markets. But the company says sales have slowed there as well.