In 2002, General Motors had 177,000 employees in North America. By the end of 2008, that number had shrunk to 93,000, or 49% fewer employees than it had just six years earlier. GM plans to further cut its white collar workforce by 3,400 by May of this year, and the General is looking to cut 10,000 white-collar posts globally by the end of 2009. That will make nearly 100,000 GM jobs lost; enough people to fill the University of Michigan football stadium.
Ford and Chrysler have also resorted to heavy cuts in the face of shrinking market share and an industry-wide slowdown. Ford has seen its US workforce shrink to about 65,000 workers; 44% fewer than the Blue Oval employed five years earlier. Chrysler was leaner than Ford and GM were five years ago, yet they've still shed 32,000 jobs during that time. Chrysler now employs 56,600 employees, and the Pentastar has a package out to all of its hourly workers.
It's amazing to think that by June of this year, Detroit automakers will have shed nearly 200,000 jobs in under six years. As crazy as that number sounds, we don't think anyone will be surprised if a lot more workers lose their jobs before this year is over.