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Still scrambling, DuPont cuts 2,000 jobs
On Thursday May 7, 2009, 3:27 pm EDT

DuPont to cut 2,000 jobs, expects 2nd-qtr charges up to $390 million

NEW YORK (AP) -- DuPont said Thursday it will cut another 2,000 jobs as falling orders from the automotive and manufacturing sectors continue to eat away at sales.

"Our objective is not simply to weather the recession and wait for recovery," DuPont Chief Executive Ellen Kullman said in a statement Thursday. "Our goal is to emerge from this global recession stronger, faster and more agile than ever before."

Consumers have cut way back on spending for everything from cars to houses, striking directly at the heart of the chemical industry. General Motors posted a $6 billion loss for the first quarter on Thursday.

Rival Dow Chemical has cut 10,000 jobs since last fall. Dow was able to post a first-quarter profit only because of its agricultural unit -- which sells seeds and other farming products and has very little to do with the company's core business.

Huntsman Corp. said in January it would cut 1,175 jobs, close a plant in the United Kingdom and slash capital spending. Also in January, Ashland Inc. said it lost $119 million in its first fiscal quarter and would cut 300 jobs, freeze wages and adopt a two-week furlough program.

Chemical companies had hoped for a stronger start to 2009, but when DuPont announced first-quarter earnings, it warned it would have to cut costs even more to offset plunging sales.

DuPont said a sharp drop in global industrial demand pushed its first-quarter profit down by 59 percent. The company had already announced 2,500 layoffs last fall and said it would eliminate about 10,000 contractor jobs.

"What has happened since December is that the severity has escalated," said spokesman Anthony Farina. "All you have to do is look at our first-quarter report, where volumes were down significantly, to see fundamental shifts in market."

Source: Associated Press

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