Whirlpool to lay off 700 in Arkansas

Whirlpool has announced it will layoff around 700 employees at a Fort Smith, Ark.-based refrigerator facility.

The company said layoffs are expected to begin next month.

"Like many manufacturers, we are facing a marketplace filled with unprecedented challenges, including lower demand levels, significant and unrelenting increases in the costs of steel, oil and other materials used to make and deliver our products," said Alan Holaday, vp-manufacturing operations for Whirlpool North America. "These work force adjustments, while difficult for our employees and their families, are necessary to remain competitive in the global marketplace."

Most recently, the company said it also plans to lay off around 120 people from its Evansville, Ind., manufacturing facility.

The company has consolidated operations at a number of North American plants, and Whirlpool also said it planned to “accelerate” its schedule of new product launches in 2008, including 70 new products in North America this year.

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