Ford Motor Co. and Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) joined a growing number of companies firing thousands of workers as sluggish U.S. growth and Europeâ€™s deepening recession lead to a persisting slump in sales.
North American companies have announced plans to eliminate 62,600 positions at home and abroad since Sept. 1, the biggest two-month drop since the start of 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Firings total 158,100 so far this year, more than the 129,000 job cuts in the same period in 2011.
Ford is closing its first European car-assembly factories in 10 years, adding to more than 5,500 cuts announced by Dow Chemical, DuPont Co. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) in the past week. The reductions coincide with a majority of U.S. companies missing analystsâ€™ third-quarter revenue estimates and a focus on jobs in the final weeks of the U.S. presidential campaign.
â€œCompanies are saying, â€˜Letâ€™s not build up inventories, letâ€™s be lean and mean until we know until we have a better idea of what 2013 is going to look like,â€™â€ said Janna Sampson, who helps manage more than $3 billion for Oakbrook Investments in Lisle, Illinois. â€œThere is a fear now as companies see that the economic recovery is not picking up.â€
So far, out of 204 S&P 500 companies that have released third-quarter earnings, 120 have reported sales that trailed analystsâ€™ estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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