Some worry more Deere layoffs ahead - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Some worry more Deere layoffs ahead

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

After word of 462 indefinite layoffs at Deere & Co. facilities in Waterloo and Cedar Falls, many in the community say they believe more layoffs could come in the upcoming months.

Traci Rettig and her co-worker Jeff Kottke spent part of their Friday afternoon like many - trying absorb the news of layoffs at Deere & Co. facilities in the Cedar Valley.

"Everything was pretty somber today. They told us today this was the extent of it but I think everybody feels the future is pretty uncertain and that was reflected in the mood," said Rettig.

240 jobs will go away come October in the Tractor Works plant.

Other cuts will come in Drivetrain Operations near downtown Waterloo.

A company spokesman says the layoffs are a result in a drop in demand.

Experts say that's due to a downturn in Brazil and Russia, an elimination in a tax deduction for equipment purchases in the U.S., and changes in U.S. environmental regulations, among others.

Still, local business leaders say the area can withstand Friday's announcement, thanks to a diversified economy.

"With them, I would be optimistic that this economy, this regional economy, could absorb these people in new positions," said Steve Dust of the Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.

But for Rettig and thousands of others, the unknown lies ahead.

"The feeling you get is everybody is unsure especially some of the newer folk. Nobody wants to see this get any deeper bbut everybody's got something to think about," said Rettig.

Leaders of other local companies that sub-contract and have other business with Deere say they are unsure, too.

One said it's way too early to know how it will impact his company.

Another said he's planning to make adjustments, but for now, is not filling open positions.

Other Deere workers say they're hoping business picks back up but worry the next two quarters could bring more layoffs.

Sales of Deere tractors and combines in South America are expected to decline 15% this year.

Deere is predicting a 10% sales decline in U.S. and Canada ag and turf sales.

But the company is still predicting a net profit of $3 billion this year.

Deere stock dropped $1.45 a share Friday on the layoff news.

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