Caterpillar to shutter Aurora plant, cut 800 jobs
The company’s announcement affects 800 hourly employees, though 1,200 workers will remain in Aurora. In January, Caterpillar announced plans to relocate its global headquarters to Chicago and out of its longtime hub in Peoria.
Caterpillar announced March 31 that it plans to close its machine production plant in Aurora, according to the Chicago Tribune. The closure will affect 800 hourly employees. About 1,200 workers in engineering, management and support will remain in Aurora, but the Tribune reported that the company is considering relocating its machine production to Decatur or North Little Rock, Ark.
This announcement comes not long after Caterpillar revealed plans to relocate its its global headquarters to Chicago and out of Peoria, the company’s hub since the 1990s. Federal agents raided the Peoria headquarters March 2 as part of an investigation into the company’s tax practices, according to The New York Times.
Illinois’ workforce, manufacturing woes
The Caterpillar announcement adds more uncertainty in a state jobs climate that is already precarious for many workers. Illinois’ workforce is in a 10-year decline, and unlike its neighbors Illinois’ labor force has yet to recover from its pre-recession peak.
In 2016, Illinois had the weakest jobs growth rate and the highest manufacturing losses in the region – only 28,400 jobs were created in Illinois in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the state lost 11,000 manufacturing jobs on net.
Moody’s Investors Service recently named Peoria as one of four downstate metro areas now experiencing a recession. The Peoria metro area has lost nearly 30 percent of its manufacturing jobs in the last 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The area’s labor force is at a 12-year low.