Trucking industry companies announce layoffs, cutbacks and operating losses

| 12/23/2008

The Grinch sure is trying to steal Christmas.

Ryder System Inc. says it’s cutting 3,100 jobs because of the slow economy. Reuters reported that the Miami-based trucking and logistics company will eliminate 700 jobs and lay off another 1,400 in the U.S. The rest of the cuts will come in Europe and South America.

Meanwhile, Cooper Tire announced it’s cutting 1,400 jobs. Cooper will close its plant in Albany, GA, and move production to its other three plants in Tupelo, MS; Findlay, OH; and Texarkana, AR.

Cummins Emissions, a subsidiary of diesel engine maker Cummins, will lay off 100 workers at its plant in Mineral Point, WI. That’s in addition to the 600 white collar layoffs that Cummins announced earlier.

Yet another company reported additional cutbacks. On top of the two-week factory closing and temporary layoffs of 1,000 workers in Illinois and North Carolina already announced by Caterpillar Engine, the company now says it’s going to cut executive pay and put a hiring freeze in place.

The Associated Press reported Cat will cut executives’ pay by as much as 50 percent next year and suspend white collar bonuses. Senior managers’ pay will be reduced by 5 percent to 35 percent. The company is also urging employees to accept a buyout plan.

In other economic news, Japanese auto giant Toyota is reporting its first operating loss in 70 years.

The New York Times reported the company will see a loss of $1.7 this year compared with a $28 billion profit last year. In November, Toyota saw its North American sales plunge by nearly 34 percent, and its sales were off sharply in other countries.

Toyota’s president told reporters, “The change in the world economy is of a magnitude that comes once every hundred years.” He added, “We are facing an unprecedented emergency.”