Posted on 04 Mar 2009
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which recorded its worst financial results ever in 2008, will cut manufacturing jobs and close facilities as the recession deepens.
Berkshire reduced the number of employees at Clayton Homes Inc., which builds manufactured housing, by 16 percent last year to 11,998. Shaw Industries, the largest U.S. carpet-maker, cut 6.2 percent of its workforce and employed 28,974 at year-end, Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire said in its annual report.
“Berkshire’s operating companies have taken and will continue to take cost reduction actions in response to the current economic situation, including curtailing production, reducing capital expenditures, closing facilities and reducing employment to partially compensate for the declines in demand,” the firm said in a regulatory filing yesterday.
Berkshire joins companies, including General Motors Corp. and Macy’s Inc., in dismissing workers as the worst financial crisis in seven decades causes manufacturing, real estate and service industries to slow. President Barack Obama, who has reached out to Buffett for advice on economic matters, has said his stimulus plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs, and the Federal Reserve is flooding markets with liquidity to revive lending and restore growth.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in January, its highest since 1992, the Labor Department said.