WASHINGTON, December 8 – The Dow Chemical Company announced Monday it would cut about 5,000 full-time jobs, close 20 facilities and divest non-strategic businesses in an aggressive move to cope with dire economic times.
The diversified chemical giant also will suspend operations in 180 plants and significantly reduce its contractor workforce worldwide by 6,000 as it joins other American companies in axing staff amid a deepening recession.
"Today\’s restructuring is designed to support the Dow of tomorrow," said Dow chairman and chief executive Andrew Liveris.
"However, we are accelerating the implementation of these measures as the current world economy has deteriorated sharply, and we must adjust ourselves to the severity of this downturn," he said in a statement.
The full-time job cuts represent a reduction of about 11 percent of Dow\’s global workforce.
Once fully implemented, the new actions are expected to result in 700 million dollars in annual operating cost savings by 2010 and add to previously announced cost synergies of 800 million dollars in the same timeframe, Liveris said.
The Midland, Michigan-based company, he said, was moving from a highly centralized approach to operating three business models with "a lean and efficient" corporate center.
Details on these business structures will be outlined early next year, he said.
Dow chalks up massive annual sales of more than 50 billion dollars with 46,000 employees worldwide.
The job cuts came as the US economic picture darkened further on news last week of a massive loss of 533,000 jobs in November, raising fears that the recession gripping the global economy will be worse than anticipated.
The November job cuts were the highest monthly decline in 34 years and much higher than the 325,000 forecast, taking the unemployment rate to a 15-year high of 6.7 percent.