Harley-Davidson Motor Company has announced they will be laying off 200 employees. 115 of the cuts will come from their York, Pennsylvania plant where they produce most of the Big Twin line. At it’s peak in 2009, the York plant employed 2000 people. Currently, they are operating with around 950 full time employees.
This current round of layoffs are expected to begin in early October and end in November. It is no surprise the company is cutting personnel given in July they announced sales were down 5.2% compared to 2015 with profit down 6.4% for the same period. At the time the company stated the U.S. market was weaker then expected and as a result the company would cut production by 5000 units, from 274,000 down to 269,000.
While the U.S. economy seems to be improving this is further evidence many U.S. company’s are still fighting to get back to pre-recession levels. Harley-Davidson is not the only power sports company to go backwards this year. In fact, despite fewer sales, they have actually gained market share in 2016, indicating the industry as a whole is down year over year. Many cite political uncertainty as a reason sales have declined, while others blame stagnant wages or global economics. I believe a combination of issues have reduced consumer confidence and expect the industry to remain stagnant for the foreseeable future.