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AGMA NewsBrief
Jan. 27, 2009
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Caterpillar Moves to Cut 20,000 Jobs
from The New York Times
The heavy equipment maker Caterpillar announced layoffs on Monday and warned of a tough year ahead as a downturn that began in the United States metastasized into a full-blown global recession, gutting orders for its earth-moving equipment. The world’s largest maker of construction and mining machines, which also reported lower-than expected fourth-quarter earnings, said on Monday it was laying off 17,000 workers, and buying out 2,500 others, to reduce costs in the face of what it predicted would be the weakest year for business since the end of WWII. More

ALD Holcroft

Harley To Cut 1,100 Jobs, 640 in Milwaukee
from MSNBC
The current economic conditions are hitting Harley-Davidson hard, and its decreased production of Harley-riders' beloved "HOG's" is forcing it to cut hundreds of jobs in Milwaukee. Harley-Davidson is cutting 1,100 employees across its company in a cost-cutting move, with 640 cuts coming in the Milwaukee area. More

Southwest Suspends Fleet Growth
from Aviation Week
Southwest, reporting its second straight quarterly loss and seeing post-January "softness" in bookings, said Jan. 22 it will cut its capacity by 4% in 2009 and suspend its fleet growth plans through at least 2010 because of the recession. It will mark the first time Southwest has ever shrunk its capacity over a full year. More

Deere to Lay Off Nearly 700 Workers
from The Chicago Tribune
Farm equipment maker Deere & Co. will lay off nearly 700 workers between factories in Brazil and Iowa. The Moline, Ill.-based company says it'll fire 502 workers at an agricultural harvesting equipment plant in Horizontina, Brazil. And 190 employees at a plant in Davenport, Iowa, which makes construction and forestry equipment, will be laid off or temporarily reassigned effective Feb. 16. That's according to an e-mail sent Sunday to The Associated Press by Deere spokesman Ken Golden. More

Exec: Chrysler Viable by Spring
from USA Today
A top Chrysler LLC executive says the automaker should be viable by springtime because of its restructuring, introduction of new and improved vehicles, and higher sales due to loosened credit and sweetened incentives for buyers. Vice Chairman and President Jim Press defined "viable" as remaining solvent and continuing to invest in new products, with an ability in the future to repay government loans. But he told reporters Saturday at the National Automobile Dealers Association annual convention that he doesn't know when the privately owned Auburn Hills, Mich.-based company will return to profitability. More

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Obama to Let States Set Auto Emission Rules
from CNN
Fourteen states will be able to mandate greater auto fuel efficiency than the federal government requires under a plan that President Obama will announce on Monday, a senior administration official said. Obama will do so by directing the Environmental Protection Agency to grant a waiver for the states to allow them to set their own standards for emissions, the official said. More

House Committee Approves $20 Billion for Renewables
from Sustainable Business
The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday approved the $20 billion in energy tax credits and incentives proposed in the Obama administration's economic stimulus package. A party-line vote of 24 to 13 approved the tax cuts for alternative energy including a multiyear extension of the production tax credit for wind, geothermal, hydro power and bioenergy. More

UAW to End Chrysler Jobs Bank Jan. 26; GM in Talks on Issue
The United Auto Workers union will end the so-called jobs bank for Chrysler LLC on Jan. 26 as a condition of the $4 billion U.S. loan made to the carmaker. The union sent a letter to local presidents Jan. 22 ordering that workers be sent home from the program, which kept employees on the payroll even though they had no duties to carry out at the company. General Motors Corp. is also in discussions about a similar end to its 25-year-old program, said Tony Sapienza, a GM spokesman. More

Europe Services, Manufacturing Contracted in January
from Bloomberg
Europe’s manufacturing and service industries contracted for an eighth month in January as the global recession curbed demand for exports and damped spending. A composite index of both industries was at 38.5 compared with 38.2 in December, which was the lowest reading since the survey began in 1998. Economists forecast a decline to 37.4, according to the median of 15 estimates in a Bloomberg survey. The index is based on a survey of purchasing managers by Markit Economics and a reading below 50 indicates contraction. More

Automation Is Not Just About Robots
from American Machinist
When a machine shop operator hears the word “automation,” he usually thinks of machines and devices such as bar feeders, pallet changes and robot arms that can reduce the human effort needed to move material and parts around the shop. The motivation for using such machines and devices is simple – cutting the time a human spends doing those functions reduces the labor cost to make the parts and the time it takes to get those parts made. Both of those increase the shop’s profitability. But the manual labor involved in making and moving parts and materials are not the only shop activities that can be automated profitably. More

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