Unfazed by Recession Fears, Ford Still Eyes 7,000 Hires

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Despite a growing risk of a double-dip recession and heavy turbulence in the financial markets, Ford (NYSE:F) said Thursday the iconic auto maker still plans to boost its U.S. payrolls by 7,000 workers.

While lacking details, the reaffirmation comes at a time when many U.S. companies are holding steady or even slashing their workforces, especially in the financial services sector.

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Speaking to reporters in Bangkok, Ford CEO Alan Mulally reaffirmed the company’s pledge to hire 7,000 people over the next two years in the U.S.

The comments come as Detroit-based Ford and the United Auto Workers union begin talks aimed at reaching a new collective bargaining deal.

“We’re negotiating the contract, I don’t want to comment,” Mulally said, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Mulally was in Bangkok to celebrate the opening of a new Ford Ranger pickup truck plant.

Ford’s hiring plans stand in contrast with some other big companies’ cost-cutting moves.

Struggling phone maker Nokia (NYSE:NOK) disclosed plans on Thursday to lay off 3,500 workers and a New York Times report earlier this week indicated Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) may make deeper job cuts than previously announced.

On the other hand, new economic data released in the U.S. reveal initial jobless claims plunged by 37,000 last week to 391,000 -- the lowest level since April. However, it is unclear how much of that decline was due to seasonal and technical factors versus a real improvement in the jobs market.

Shares of Ford rallied 1.8% to $10.12 Thursday morning, outperforming a 1% gain on the S&P 500.

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