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Friday, August 28, 2009 7:39 PM

Whirlpool Plant in Evansville, Ind. Shuts Down, Taking 1,100 Jobs to Mexico

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Evansville, Indiana continues to suffer from jobs and population flight. It's population was 121,582 in 2000, falling to 113,627 in 2006.

Tonight Evansville is taking another hit as Whirlpool to shut Indiana plant, cut 1,100 jobs.

Whirlpool Corp. announced Friday it will close its Evansville, Ind., factory next year, moving the plant's production of top-freezer refrigerators to a facility in Mexico.

Citing the need to trim manufacturing capacity, Whirlpool said the mid-2010 plant closure will eliminate 1,100 full-time jobs.

Whirlpool (WHR) , like most manufacturers, has seen its sales slump over the past year as a global economic recession and housing market slump hurt demand for home appliances. Whirlpool's latest revenue numbers show sales in the second quarter fell 18% to $4.17 billion from the second quarter of 2008.

Closing the Evansville plant is part of Whirlpool's ongoing drive to consolidate its North American manufacturing operations.

The company said it is also considering relocating its Evansville refrigeration product development center, a move that would affect another 300 jobs. "A decision is expected in the near future," the company said.

"This was a difficult but necessary decision," Al Holaday, Whirlpool vice president of North American manufacturing operations said in a statement.

"To reduce excess capacity and improve costs the decision was made to consolidate production within out existing North American manufacturing facilities. This will allow us to streamline our operations, improve our capacity utilization, reduce product overlap between plants, and meet future production requirements," he added.

Whirlpool has been busy downsizing its operations for several years. Last fall it announced plans to ax about 5,000 jobs, or 7% of its workforce, by the end of 2009. The cuts include 500 salaried positions in North America and another 1,900 jobs abroad, mostly in Europe.
Evansville, Indiana Demographics

Demographics from MuniNet Guide.

This is a huge loss for a relatively small town far from major population centers. 1,100 jobs (more likely 1,400 if the refrigeration unit goes as well) will not easily be replaced.

At least those employees have a year to prepare.

Consolidation is a One-Way Street

Consolidation is a one way street with a fork in the road. One fork heads to Mexico, the other to India or China. No consolidation roads lead to the US.

Outsourcing and global wage arbitrage are major deflationary forces that have still not finished playing out.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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