Thursday, March 28, 2002

What's the Buzz?

Outlook improves for Ford plant

        Improving auto sales have stabilized the employment outlook at Ford Motor Co.'s Sharonville transmission plant.

        The plant, which employs 2,200, laid off 250 workers in February as part of Ford's $4 billion restructuring. But another round of job cuts that could have eliminated another 250 to 300 workers was canceled, said Jim Bath, plant human resources manager.

        “Our employment looks pretty steady for now,” he said.

        The plant expects to recall up to 100 workers this summer to cover vacations, he said.

        After reporting a 2001 loss of $5.45 billion, its first annual loss since 1992, Ford in January announced a restructuring effort that included job cuts and plant closings.

        Since then, Ford and other automakers have raised their 2002 sales forecasts by about 1 million vehicles.

        Last week, Ford said it expects to build 4.4 percent more cars and trucks in North America in the second quarter and that its first-quarter auto sales exceeded forecasts.

        Still, Ford declined last week to alter its profit forecast for a break-even year.

— Mike Boyer

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