Deere to lay off 120 in East Moline

Deere & Company announced 120 employees will be laid off March 31, 2014 at the John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline.

The workers were told of the “indefinite layoff notices” during company meetings at the East Moline Deere Harvester plant Thursday, February 13.  No other plant was affected.

The announcement comes as Deere projected five- to ten-percent cuts in farm equipment sales over levels reached in 2013.

The company recently announced it had record production last year.

Deere “hired hundreds of employees in the Quad Cities in the past three years” according to a statement from company spokesman Ken Golden.

“The company has consistently stated that the size of the work force in any specific  factory will be matched to the market demand for products manufactured in that factory,” Golden said.

Golden said the East Moline Harvester Works has nearly 2,800 employees, and about 2,000 of them work in production jobs.

The layoffs were to be based on seniority.

Earnings report

Deere reported $681 million in earnings for the first quarter.  Wednesday’s earnings report also indicated  a three percent increase in revenues totaling $7.65 billion.

But the company also repeated its warnings from last year that a slowdown in sales is expected in 2014.  Even though sales could fall 3%, Deere still projects a full-year profit of about $3.3 billion, down $200 million from 2013.

Falling Demand

Much of the forecast is based on farmers seeing a bumper crop of soybeans and corn last year.  Those big crops dropped commodity prices from record levels.  That’s expected to leave less money in farmer’s wallets.