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GM cuts work force
General Motors to Cut U.S. Work Force Again

Associated Press - January 10, 2005

General Motors Corp., the world's biggest automaker, plans to trim its U.S. work force for a fourth consecutive year in 2005, part of an ongoing effort to reduce costs, chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner said Monday.

Wagoner, speaking to reporters at the North American International Auto Show, declined to place a number on targeted reductions, but he said the pattern likely would follow that of recent years.

Through the third quarter of 2004, GM reduced it hourly work force by about 6 percent versus the same period in 2003 - from 119,000 to 112,000, according to figures provided by the company.

For the same period, its smaller, salaried work force declined by 5 percent - from 40,000 to 38,000.

The bulk of the reductions were through attrition and retirements, GM said.

Wagoner said the attrition rate among salaried workers in the past few years has been about 2 percent, while the same rate for hourly workers has been roughly 5 percent.

"We've hired people every year," Wagoner said. "We'll continue to do that. But we don't hire on a one-for-one replacement. We may do one for two, one for three, depending on the plant and the location. The result is we've been able to significantly improve productivity without any massive dislocations of our work force."

GM, whose U.S. sales fell 1.4 percent in 2004, announced last month it plans to offer another round of early retirement offers and buyout packages to an undetermined number of its 38,000 U.S. salaried workers early this year.

In afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, GM shares were off 40 cents to $38.60. Its 52-week low was $36.90 a share reached in October.
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