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Caterpillar to cull jobs even as sales grow

City A.M. Reporter
CATERPILLAR, the world&rsquo;s biggest maker of heavy machinery, said yesterday it plans to permanently axe 2,500 workers even as increasing demand will allow it to recall some employees who were laid off during the economic downturn.<br /><br />Caterpillar has already brought back some workers, and estimates that due to signs of recovery in the global economy, about 550 of those laid-off will return by the end of 2010. The company has forecast sales next year would rise between 10 per cent and 25 per cent.<br /><br />However, about 2,500 laid-off workers will now be offered separation packages. The company did not say which facilities were affected. The firm based in Illinois, began notifying approximately 2,500 American employees they would be losing their jobs.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s important to remember that we are not close to the record-breaking demand we experienced from 2004 to 2008,&rdquo; chief executive Jim Owens said.<br /><br />The company, which has let go about 34,000 full-time and contract workers due to production cuts and falling sales, also repeated the sales and earnings targets it introduced last week.<br /><br />Caterpillar this month named company veteran Doug Oberhelman, head of its engines and turbines unit, to succeed retiring Caterpillar chief Owens.<br /><br />Last week, Caterpillar reported a stronger-than-expected profit of $404m (&pound;245m) for the third quarter, still down 54 per cent from a year ago.