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

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.

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.