Secrets of the Job Hunt


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chicago-Based Brunswick Corporation to Cut 1,400 Chicago Jobs

Struggling boat maker Brunswick Corporation will cut 1,400 more Chicago jobs as the company shuts four plants and furloughs workers at three more - the latest round of layoffs as boat sales slump to near-record levels.

Brunswick's global headquarters is in the Northern Chicago suburb of Lake Forest, Illinois. A company spokesman said retail boat sales through July were down 40 percent from a year earlier and that 2007 had the lowest sales ever in the U.S. industry.

In 2007, Brunswick had sales of $5.671 billion with net earnings of $111.6 million.

The announcement, which sent the manufacturer's stock to an 18-year low came four months after the suburban Chicago company said it would eliminate 1,000 jobs because of the falling demand for recreational boats amid a poor economic environment.

Layoffs and the planned closing are part of Brunswick's effort to cut costs by $300 million. Brunswick Corp. said it will close its U.S. Marine boat yard in southeastern North Carolina and eliminate about 270 jobs by the end of the year because of a national slump in boat sales. The company said three other fiberglass plants, in Pipestone, Minn., Oregon and Washington, will be permanently closed in a move that will result in the eventual elimination of approximately 1,450 hourly and salaried positions.

"Preliminary industry data indicates that retail sales are down by as much as 13 percent in our key category of sterndrive and inboard powered fiberglass boats in the second quarter, which historically represents the strongest period of the selling season," Chief Executive Dustan McCoy said in a statement, explaining company production and shipment cuts.

Recreational boat makers and dealers are having a hard time getting U.S. consumers to buy their pricey toys due to rising interest rates, higher fuel prices and a cooling U.S. housing market.

Prompted by worsening financial conditions, including rising oil prices and frozen credit markets, the company has slashed more than a third of its marine work force since the beginning of the year.

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