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Whirlpool drains 5,000 jobs

Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. plans to cut 5,000 jobs, about 10 per cent of its workforce in North America and Europe, as it faces soft demand and higher costs for materials.

The world's biggest appliance maker also on Friday cut its 2011 earnings outlook drastically and reported third-quarter results that missed expectations, hurt by higher costs and a slowdown in emerging markets. Shares fell 12 per cent in premarket trading.

The company, whose brands include Maytag and KitchenAid, has been squeezed by soft demand since the recession and rising costs for materials such as steel and copper. Due to its size, Whirlpool's performance provides a window on the economy because it indicates whether consumers are comfortable spending on big-ticket items.

Whirlpool has raised prices to combat higher costs, but demand for items like refrigerators and washing machines remains tight. Whirlpool is also facing discount pressure from competitors.

To offset slowing North American sales, Whirlpool has turned to emerging markets. But the company said Friday that sales have slowed there, too.



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