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Cirrus to lay off more workers in Duluth

More layoffs anticipated at airplane manufacturer.

Adjusting to a diminished market for its airplanes, Cirrus Aircraft Corp. is laying off 85 more workers this week.

Most are nonproduction workers in Duluth, with jobs in development, information technology and administration, said Todd Simmons, vice president of marketing. A few of the positions are in Cirrus' Grand Forks facility, he said.

Groups of employees were informed Wednesday that layoffs were coming. Workers losing their jobs will be told individually today and Friday, he said.

Simmons said the job cuts are the latest in a series of steps the company has taken to restructure as demand for Cirrus airplanes dropped from about 650 a year to half that.

With the layoffs, Cirrus has lost a total of 550 employees in the past year. Other positions have been eliminated and workers furloughed. Still, Simmons said the company is cautiously optimistic about the future.

"No further layoffs are scheduled," he said.

About 50 production workers were called back in June and output was increased from three airplanes a week to eight.

This week's layoffs won't have much impact on the current production level, Simmons said.

Cirrus will have about 620 workers after the layoffs. That's 40 to 45 percent smaller than three years ago. But Simmons points out that that's better than the industry as a whole which is down 60 to 65 percent.

"We're performing better than the industry," Simmons said. "We're making gains in a contracted market. We've increased our share of the pie, but the pie has gotten significantly smaller than it was two years ago."

The company still has about 80 furloughed production workers. Whether they or those laid off this week will ever be called back is uncertain.

"We will continue to monitor the market," Simmons said. "We see some signs of an uptick in the marketplace. At the same time, that uptick is coming from relatively low levels."