After reporting a deep drop in quarterly earnings earlier this week, Deere and Company now plans to lay off more than 600 workers at four of its manufacturing facilities, including one in central Iowa and two in the Quad Cities.
Deere spokesman Ken Golden says the job cuts will be coming at the Des Moines Works in Ankeny, at the Harvester Works in East Moline, Illinois, the Seeding and Cylinder Works in Moline, Illinois, and at the plant in Coffeyville, Kansas. “The largest number on today’s announcement is from the John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline,” Golden says. “That’s about 425 employees at that location. Des Moines is going to have 110 employees on indefinite layoff.”
Deere is Iowa’s largest manufacturing employer and the company announced third quarter earnings on Wednesday of $850 million, down $150-million from a year ago. Ag equipment sales dropped 8-percent in the U.S. and Canada, 11-percent globally. “We are always going to align the size of our manufacturing workforce with the market demand for our products,” Golden says. “Our employees are aware of that and so there is going to be some flux in the size of the workforce.”
There are two ways the company makes adjustments, Golden says, like with extended shutdowns at each facility based on what’s being produced there. “For instance, in Des Moines, all of the employees will be on an extended shutdown through September 29th,” Golden says. “When we place someone on an indefinite layoff, as we have done today, we are not projecting a particular date that they will be called back. That’s the unfortunate thing.”
Deere is also implementing a seasonal shutdown affecting most of the manufacturing workforce at its Ottumwa Works. Production will be cut in the fourth quarter to meet market demand, which Golden says, is “not anything new for us.” Deere revised its full-year earnings projection to $3.1 billion, compared to its spring prediction of $3.3 billion.