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Caterpillar Inc. said it cut almost 8,000 temporary, contract and agency workers amid the economic slowdown, according to its fourth-quarter earnings release today. "While these workers are a key element of our 'flexible workforce' they are not included among the 112,887 full-time employees at year end," the heavy equipment maker reported.
The company said sales and revenue rose 14% to $51.32 billion for 2008, but it was still a challenging year. Chairman and CEO Jim Owens said demand boomed in the first three quarters, but problems hit in the fourth.
"We were whipsawed in the fourth quarter as key industries were hit by a rapidly deteriorating global economy and plunging commodity prices," Owens said. "In anticipation of lower demand we encouraged dealers to align inventory with declining volume, and they responded with significant order cancellations, particularly in December."