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Daimler reduces area layoffs to about 340

Daimler Trucks North America announced Friday it will lay off approximately 340 workers at its Freightliner manufacturing plant in the Rowan County town of Cleveland.

The layoffs, happening April 8, are fewer than the number of cuts originally announced in February. Oregon-based Daimler had said 715 people at the Cleveland plant -- or a third of the work force there -- could lose jobs.

Overall, nearly 1,200 Charlotte-area Freightliner workers had been targeted for layoffs, due to the softening of the North American commercial truck market.

At the Mount Holly Truck Manufacturing plant, 405 workers had been notified that they could lose jobs. At the Gastonia Components and Logistics Plant, 80 were warned of possible layoffs.

But in a statement, Freightliner’s parent company Daimler said those predicted cuts won’t happen.

“Although the industry is still performing below optimal levels, present order intake and industry leading market share gains have enabled DTNA to reduce the impact of the potential adjustment...” spokesperson David Giroux said in a statement.

Giroux said Daimler expects market conditions will improve throughout the year.

The company “will be ready to recall workers impacted by the layoff if conditions continue to improve,” Giroux said.

This is the latest stage in the cycle of layoffs and rehirings at the Charlotte-area Freightliner plants, which have a history of adding jobs when times are good, and cutting jobs when sales are slow of the heavy-duty trucks.

In early 2012 -- following a layoff of more than 2,100 workers announced in 2009 -- about 1,100 workers were called back. President Barack Obama visited the Mount Holly site later that year and called the new jobs a sign of the economic recovery.

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