Caterpillar Inc and Deere & Co said Friday they are cutting a combined total of 170 jobs in response to slumping sales of their heavy machinery.
The cost-cutting moves helped the stocks of both companies, which are well below their 52-week highs. Deere shares were up about 0.06 percent at $79.66 and Caterpillar shares were 0.74 percent higher at $66.93 in late afternoon trading.
Deere, a leading maker of farm and construction equipment, said 100 employees represented by the United Auto Workers will be laid off indefinitely starting April 1 at two factories in Iowa that make construction and forestry machinery.
Deere executives told analysts during a conference call last week that the company had agreed with the union that it could schedule up to 16 weeks of factory downtime this year, up from 10 weeks previously.
"Deere continues to adjust the size of our manufacturing workforce at individual factories in response to market demand for products," Deere spokesman Ken Golden said in an email. Deere has forecast an 11 percent decline in sales this year compared to 2015.
About 1,500 Deere manufacturing employees are currently on layoff. The company had 57,180 global employees at the end of last year, down 4 percent from 2014.
Caterpillar, the world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment, said it will halt production of its on-highway trucks, eliminating 70 jobs. A Caterpillar spokesperson said the jobs were primarily management positions.
Caterpillar had initially planned to move truck production from Mexico to a plant in Victoria, Texas, but it has now decided to end the on-highway truck venture, company executive Ramin Younessi said in a statement.
Caterpillar last year outlined a wide-ranging restructuring that could cut 10,000 employees by 2018 and shut factories around the globe. Eariler this week it announced an additional consolidation of operating divisions.
Caterpillar has 105,700 employees worldwide, down 8 percent from 2014.