In another sign of the improving economy we keep hearing about (sarcasm here folks) Ford and GM will cut plant production in the final quarter of 2004 to save costs. The cutbacks will dramatically impact workers for both the automakers and suppliers who count on overtime pay as part of their salary. Ford will produce fewer cars in the fourth quarter than it has in any year since 2001, a recession year. Of course we're not in a recession now, don't panic. "We are doing this to production just to be cautious. The economy is definitely in a soft patch and clearly it's fallen off the growth pace of last year or even early this year," said George Pipas, Ford sales analysis manager. "We are certainly more cautious about the economy than we were three months ago. What we need to see is a resumption of job growth." OK panic.