Deere & Co., the world’s largest maker of farm equipment, said Friday it will lay off 600 workers at four Midwest agricultural-equipment factories, including one in Coffeyville, Kan., because of declining demand for its products.
The other plants are in Moline and East Moline, Ill., and in Ankeny, Iowa.
Illinois was hardest hit, with 425 layoffs at the East Moline plant, which employs 1,730. Those layoffs will begin Oct. 20, a spokesman said. The Moline plant will have 35 layoffs beginning Aug. 25. It employs 710. The company has some 35,000 U.S. employees.
Job reductions were signaled earlier this week when Deere cut its earnings forecast for the year and reported that fiscal third-quarter profit fell 15 percent on weaker farm equipment sales. Officials said then that the company would scale back production to be in line with demand for agricultural products.
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“It’s just a reflection that our workforce has to flex with how much we’re selling,” said Deere spokesman Ken Golden. “We had added several hundred jobs in recent years in these factories because of increased demand.”
Deere also said Friday it is implementing seasonal and inventory adjustment shutdowns and temporary layoffs at several of the affected factories.
Employees have been informed at the affected facilities. No other locations were included in Friday’s layoff announcement.
In July, Deere informed employees at its Ankeny facility near Des Moines of an extended shutdown affecting most manufacturing employees there. Friday’s announcement places some of the employees at that facility on indefinite layoff. Deere also has implemented a seasonal shutdown affecting most of the manufacturing workforce at the John Deere Ottumwa Works in Ottumwa, Iowa.
The company said this week that while the agricultural economy remains in a “relative healthy state,” falling commodity prices cooled demand for large farm equipment. It said worldwide sales of equipment declined by 6 percent for its fiscal third quarter, with the biggest drops in the U.S. and Canada.