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General Electric Temporarily Lays Off Appliance Park Shift Because of Slow Sales

General Electric will temporarily layoff the second shift of its Appliance Park refrigeration production because appliance sales have been slower than expected, the company announced Tuesday.The layoff in the refrigeration production plant begins Feb. 25 and is expected to last about five weeks, said a statement from GE Appliances spokeswoman Kim Freeman. The five-week timeframe is to "allow excess inventory to be depleted."The shift has 550 employees, Freeman told WFPL."Most of those will be on LOW," Freeman said, referring to Lack of Work, what GE is calling the move. "We hope to keep 100 or so of those to work in other areas of the park."Appliance industry sales were down almost 1 million units at the end of 2012, compared to 2011, Freeman said. This year got off to a slower-than-expected start, too.GE had recentlyexpanded its refrigeration production.The statement adds: We are confident with the award winning new refrigeration products, the upcoming summer refrigeration selling season and a continued upward trend in the home building industry, Appliance Park is very well positioned for the future. This is an unfortunate, temporary bump in the road as we work to transform our business. GE Appliances hired over 2,500 employees in Louisville in 2012 alone. In LOW situations, those who qualify can collect unemployment and income extension aid which amounts to about 75 percent of their pay as well as retain their GE benefits.

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

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