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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Non-Auto Manufacturing Giants Feel Pain Of Contraction, Too

The U.S. has a manufacturing economy beyond Detroit's Big Three automakers, but you might not know it right now, given all the attention to the bailout of GM, Ford and Chrysler.

And the non-auto manufacturers are getting hit just as hard by the economic crisis and credit crunch.

Today, Dow Chemical said it would cut 5,000 jobs, or about 11 percent of its total workforce, and close 20 plants. The company will also temporarily idle 180 of its worldwide plants.

Dow is a massive global producer of chemicals -- stuff you use every day, such as pesticides, epoxy and ingredients in grooming and cleaning products. If there's any such thing as "recession-proof," you'd think it would be chemicals.

Yet Dow says these new cuts will create a necessary savings of $700 million per year by 2010.

"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," Dow chief executive Andrew N. Liveris said in a statement.

Elsewhere in the U.S. manufacturing economy, Minnesota-based 3M -- makers of everything from Post-It notes to Scotch tape -- cut 1,800 jobs (about 2 percent of its global workforce) during this quarter and is ordering some workers to take vacation or unpaid leave during the last two months of the year, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

The company also lowered its 2008 profit expectations and 2009 forecast.

-- Frank Ahrens

The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 8, 2008; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: manufacturing  
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