Caterpillar Inc. to Close Plant in Morganton, North Carolina

Factory Lock

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and the like, it shuttering the doors of its Morganton facility in July. The permanent closure will mean the loss of 85 full-time jobs. Overall, the plant closing will affect 110 positions.

“This closure is part of the global restructuring efforts that we’ve been undergoing to take costs out of our business,” said Caterpillar spokeswoman Rachel Potts. “These actions enable the company to be more efficient and better utilize its manufacturing assets.”

These most current layoffs are part of a broader restructuring strategy. On March 31, Caterpillar announced it was closing its Aurora, Illinois plant, cutting 800 jobs by the end of 2018.

Between October and December 2016, Caterpillar eliminated 80 jobs at its Winston-Salem plant, reducing the workforce to 140. The company built the $426.0-million, 850,000-square-foot plant in 2010 to meet the demand for its mining trucks, particularly from the energy and shale oil industries. Global demand has fallen considerably since then, especially demand from China.

In the first quarter of 2017, Caterpillar announced that revenue increased 3.1% year-over-year to $9.8 billion. First-quarter profit per share fell 30% to $0.32 from $0.46. Excluding restructuring costs, first-quarter profit per share was $1.28, a 100% increase over the first-quarter 2016 profit per share of $0.64.

Caterpillar first announced its global restructuring plan back in September 2015. At the time, it had 111,248 full-time and 15,533 part-time employees (total 126,800). The company said it expected to eliminate as many as 5,000 salaried and management jobs by the end of 2016. Its global workforce, meanwhile, could lose as many as 10,000 positions by the end of 2018.

For the 12-month period ended March 31, 2017, the company said its full-time global workforce had been slashed by 6,400 to 95,300. Over the same time frame, Caterpillar’s temporary workforce was down 300 positions to 12,600. The company said in its 2017 first-quarter release that 4,000 of those job cuts came from the U.S., while 2,400 were worldwide.

It has announced plans to permanently shut down or consolidate at least 23 plants during the restructuring efforts.

Source:

WARN Notice – Summary Count,” North Carolina Department of Commerce, last accessed June 1, 2017.

Caterpillar confirms plans to cut 80 jobs in Winston-Salem,” Winston-Salem Journal, October 27, 2016.)

Caterpillar Reports First-Quarter 2017 Results,” Caterpillar Inc., April 25, 2017.

Building For A Stronger Future, Caterpillar Announces Restructuring And Cost Reduction Plans,” Caterpillar Inc., September 24, 2015.

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