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BERLIN (Reuters) - U.S. automaker Ford plans to cut more than 5,000 jobs in Germany and will reduce its workforce in Britain as well as it seeks to return to profit in Europe, the company said on Friday. Ford has offered voluntary redundancy programs for employees in Germany and Britain, it said in a statement. This is part of a turnaround plan announced by the carmaker in January that would involve thousands of job cuts, looking at plant closures and discontinuing loss-making vehicle lines. “Through these programs and other initiatives, Ford of Germany expects to reduce its headcount in excess of 5,000 jobs, including temporary staff,” the company said.

The total number of positions affected in Britain is still to be determined, cufflink box it added, Ford also announced it would streamline its lineup by “improving or exiting less profitable vehicle lines”, Ford Europe has been losing money for years and pressure to restructure its operations has increased since arch-rival General Motors raised profits by selling its European Opel and Vauxhall brands to France’s Peugeot, Ford’s turnaround plan is aimed at achieving a 6 percent operating margin in Europe..

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. manufacturing output fell for a second straight month in February and factory activity in New York state hit nearly a two-year low this month, offering further evidence of a sharp slowdown in economic growth early in the first quarter. The reports on Friday extended the streak of weak data and underscored the Federal Reserve’s “patient” stance towards further interest rate increases this year. Fed officials are scheduled to meet next Tuesday and Wednesday to assess the economy and deliberate on the future course of monetary policy. The U.S. central bank raised rates four times last year.

“The economy is spinning its wheels and not gaining any traction yet in this soft patch produced by trade wars and stock market turbulence and the government shutdown,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York, “Thank God Fed officials were smart enough to take their foot off the rate hikes accelerator.”, The Fed said manufacturing production dropped 0.4 percent last month, held down by declines in the output of motor vehicles, machinery and furniture, Data for January was revised up to show output at factories falling 0.5 percent instead of cufflink box slumping 0.9 percent as previously reported..

It was the first back-to-back decline since mid-2017. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast manufacturing output rising 0.3 percent in February. Production at factories increased 1.0 percent in February from a year ago. Manufacturing accounts for about 12 percent of the economy. Motor vehicles and parts output slipped 0.1 percent last month after tumbling 7.6 percent in January. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, manufacturing output fell 0.4 percent last month, the largest decrease in nearly a year.

February’s drop in manufacturing production added to soft reports ranging from retail sales to housing in suggesting the economy lost significant momentum early in the first quarter, The Atlanta Fed is forecasting gross domestic product will rise at a 0.4 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, GDP grew at a 2.6 percent pace in the fourth quarter, The economy is losing steam as the stimulus from last year’s $1.5 trillion tax cut package fades, Activity is also being crimped by a trade war between the United States and China as well cufflink box as by last year’s surge in the dollar and softening global economic growth, which are hurting exports..

These factors, together with a 35-day partial shutdown of the U.S. government that ended on Jan. 25, have spilled over to the manufacturing sector. In a separate report on Friday, the New York Fed said its general business conditions index fell 5.1 points to a reading of 3.7 in February, the lowest since May 2017. It was the third consecutive monthly reading below 10, which the New York Fed said suggested “that growth has remained quite a bit slower so far this year than it was for most of 2018.”.

A reading above zero indicates expansion in the region’s manufacturing sector, The survey’s new orders index fell 4.5 points to 3.0 in March, The weakness reported by the New York Fed also suggests that national factory cufflink box activity remained sluggish this month after slowing sharply in February, The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported this month that its measure of national manufacturing activity dropped to more than a two-year low in February, with a steep decline in the new orders component..



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