Obama Dead Wrong On Stimulus, Caterpillar Company Jobs, Recovery

President Obama said on February 12, 2009, in Peoria, that the stimulus would allow Caterpillar to re-hire workers recently sent home.

Instead, today, March 17, 2009, Caterpillar announced a fresh round of job cuts Tuesday, laying off more than 2,400 employees at five plants in Illinois, Indiana and Georgia.

“Yesterday, Jim [Owens], the head of Caterpillar, said that if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off,” Obama said in Peoria on February 12, 2009.

But when asked if the stimulus could do that, Jim Owens said last February, “I think, realistically, no. The honest reality is we’re probably going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again.”

President Barack Obama addresses employees at the Caterpillar ... 
President Barack Obama addresses employees at the Caterpillar plant in East Peoria, Ill., Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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By DANIEL LOVERING, AP Manufacturing Writer

PITTSBURGH – Caterpillar Inc. announced a fresh round of job cuts Tuesday, laying off more than 2,400 employees at five plants in Illinois, Indiana and Georgia as the heavy equipment maker continues to cut costs amid the global economic downturn.

Caterpillar, the world’s largest maker of mining and construction equipment, has seen its sales wither as the sluggish world economy and credit crises weaken demand for its products used to build everything from houses to highways. The company had expanded dramatically in recent years, helped by a building boom in developing countries.

In response to the worsening conditions, Caterpillar in January announced job cuts that will ultimately eliminate 20,000 positions. It also said it would slash executive compensation by up to 50 percent and offer buyouts to about 25,000 U.S.-based employees. Caterpillar, which employs about 112,000 people worldwide, said it had imposed a global hiring freeze.

In the latest cuts, the Peoria, Ill.-based company said 2,365 support and management workers had been laid off for at least six months and 89 workers had been let go permanently. Some 245 of the 2,365 layoffs had been announced previously.

Among the affected workers are 1,726 people at plants in East Peoria and Aurora, Ill.; 439 at a plant in Lafayette, Ind., and 289 in Jefferson and Griffin, Ga.

Shares of Caterpillar slid 32 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $26.10 in late morning trading.

Related (From Feb 13, 2009)
Obama Dead Wrong On Stimulus in Peoria, Caterpillar Remarks

 Obama Says Stimulus Means Re-Hiring; CEO Says No Can Do

In this Feb. 10, 2009 file photo, Caterpillar earth moving equipment ... 
In this Feb. 10, 2009 file photo, Caterpillar earth moving equipment is lined up in Wahoo, Neb., Tuesday, Feb.10, 2009. The U.S. trade deficit plunged in January to the lowest level in six years as a deepening recession cut demand for imported goods at an even faster rate than exports.(AP Photo/Nati Harnik, file)
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