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Wisconsin unsure how Kimberly-Clark’s 5,500 layoffs will affect jobs



NEENAH, Wis. — Wisconsin employees of Kimberly-Clark are hoping their jobs will be spared in the paper giant’s latest round of layoffs which include 5,500 workers.

The consumer products company, which produces Huggies and Kleenex, is cutting up to 13 percent of its global workforce in an attempt to lower costs, Wisconsin Public Radio reported . The company plans to close or sell about 10 manufacturing plants and expand production at other facilities.

While the company’s revenue increased slightly in 2017, its operational profits decreased. The company predicts saving $500 million to $550 million by the end of 2021 with the cuts.

The company can’t yet provide details about where jobs and facilities will be cut, said CEO Tom Falk.

“(The cuts will) broadly impact all of the company’s business segments and organizations in each major geography,” the company said in a statement.

Changes to demographic needs are making the business environment more challenging, Falk said.

“Certainly in 2017, we had some factors like the birth rate in the U.S. and Korea being more negative than expected,” Falk said. “You can’t encourage moms to use more diapers in a developed market when the babies aren’t being born in those markets.”

The company’s headquarters is in Dallas, but it was founded in Neenah. It employees about 3,400 employees at five facilities in the Fox Cities.

Appleton Coated, US Paper Converters and Appvion are among several other paper-related businesses that have recently announced cuts and closures in northeast Wisconsin, said Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson.

“I pray our region will be spared,” Nelson said.

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