Thursday, May 18, 2017

Japan economy grows faster than expected; Cisco cuts 1,100 jobs; Ford to axe jobs in North America, Asia

1 Japan economy grows faster than expected (BBC) Japan's economy grew faster than expected in the first three months of the year, according to official data. The economy grew 0.5% in the quarter, while the annualised rate of growth was 2.2% - the fastest rate for a year.

The figures means Japan has now recorded its longest period of expansion in more than a decade. The economy's prospects have been boosted by strong exports, a pick-up in consumption and investment for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Exporters have been helped by the recent falls in the yen against the US dollar, which has made their products more competitive and has boosted the value of profits earned overseas. The data could provide a lift to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as his government tries to encourage Japanese consumers and companies to spend more.

2 Cisco cuts 1,100 jobs (Straits Times) Cisco Systems, the biggest maker of equipment that runs the Internet, said it was cutting 1,100 jobs after reporting weaker-than-expected financial results in the past quarter.

A disappointing sales forecast also underscores the challenges facing its multibillion-dollar hardware business during an industry shift towards cheaper, software-based networking. Revenue in the current period may decline as much as 6 per cent from a year earlier, the company said.

That indicates sales of as little as $11.9 billion, far short of the average analysts' projection of $12.5 billion. Cisco also said it is cutting an additional 1,100 jobs on top of the 5,500 it announced last August. Cisco is one of the largest makers of Internet network equipment, making hardware for a range of industries ranging from telecommunications to connected devices. It had some 71,959 employees at the end of January.

Chief executive officer Chuck Robbins is trying to recast Cisco as a provider of networking services, seeking to reduce its dependence on hardware by offering more software and cloud-based products that provide predictable revenue.

3 Ford to axe jobs in North America, Asia (Khaleej Times) Ford Motor plans to shrink its salaried workforce in North America and Asia by about 10 per cent as it works to boost profits and its sliding stock price, a source familiar with the plan told Reuters.

A person briefed on the plan said Ford plans to offer generous early retirement incentives to reduce its salaried headcount by October 1, but does not plan cuts to its hourly workforce or its production.
The move could put the US automaker on a collision course with President Donald Trump, who has made boosting auto employment a top priority. Ford has about 30,000 salaried workers in the US. 

The cuts are part of a previously announced plan to slash costs by $3 billion, the person said, as US new vehicles auto sales have shown signs of decline after seven years of consecutive growth since the end of the Great Recession.

Following criticism from Trump, in January Ford scrapped plans to build a $1.6 billion car factory in Mexico and instead added 700 jobs in Michigan. In March, Ford said it would invest $1.2 billion in three Michigan facilities and create 130 jobs in projects, largely in line with a previous agreement with the United Auto Workers union.

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