Company layoffs could mean big blow to Sanford

Posted January 26, 2009 7:03 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— Sanford could be hit hard by layoffs at two large companies that employ hundreds of people.

Caterpillar Inc., the world's largest maker of construction equipment, announced Monday it is cutting 20,000 jobs worldwide.That word came along with a report that fourth-quarter profits had fallen 32 percent.

The company has a work force of about 700 in Sanford, and it's unclear how many employees could be laid off from the plant.

Last month, Caterpillar laid off an undisclosed number of employees in what it called "temporary layoffs" that affected its Clayton plant.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer also announced it is buying Wyeth Industries and cutting 8,000 jobs.

Wyeth has operated in Sanford for 20 years. In November, it cut 124 jobs, a 10th of its work force.

Wyeth spokesman Doug Petkus said "no specific decisions have yet been made regarding job reductions or facilities" and that "from Wyeth's perspective, Sanford is an important site."

The plant in Sanford makes the pediatric vaccine Prevnar.