Caterpillar to lay off 2,454 workers in 3 states

March 18, 2009 9:51:03 AM PDT
The White House is trying to sound a positive note despite the news of more layoffs at Caterpillar. Caterpillar Tuesday announced plans to lay off more than 2,400 employees at five plants in Illinois, Indiana and Georgia.

Illinois is losing more than 1,700 of those jobs. About half of those will be at the company's plant in west suburban Montgomery. That's where 815 caterpillar production, support, and management employees will be laid off for at least six months.

The cuts saddened those who attended Tuesday night's village board meeting in nearby Oswego. "That was incredibly disturbing to me. I'm hopeful that through this stimulus bill that we'll receive some capital money toward infrastructure, and maybe Caterpillar will be the benefactor, and be able to put people back to work," said Oswego Village President Brian LeClercq.

The layoffs in Montgomery take effect in June.

Tuesday's announcement follows 22,000 earlier layoffs by the Peoria-based company.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says the White House was confident the stimulus bill will create opportunities for Caterpillar and other companies to grow their businesses because of the many construction projects states will be breaking ground on.

Caterpillar has seen its sales wither as the sluggish economy and credit crisis weaken demand for its products, which are used to build everything from houses to highways.

In January, Caterpillar announced plans to eliminate 20,000 positions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.