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General Motors workers leave the Oshawa General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ontario, on Monday. Photo: Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images

Wall Street analysts are responding to General Motors' plans to lay off nearly 15,000 salaried workers in 2019 and idle five North American manufacturing plants.

The big picture: Analysts were largely surprised by the scale of the restructuring, GM's largest since emerging from bankruptcy, but welcomed the cost cuts.

What analysts are saying:

  • Philippe Houchois, Jefferies automotive analyst, wrote in a note to clients that it was a "bigger restructuring than expected" and is "certainly piling pressure on Ford to announce plans."
  • Rebecca Lindland, Kelley Blue Book executive analyst, in an email to Axios: "Mary Barra is pushing GM into the 21st century by proactively up-ending nearly every part of the U.S. business and its global operations, positioning the company to be more flexible, agile, and streamlined. But it comes at a tremendous cost to people and the communities which depend upon GM plants for economic sustainability."
  • Michelle Krebs, Autotrader analyst, in an email to Axios: "A confluence of factors has triggered GM’s actions: a downturn in the important China market as well as a potential downturn in the North American market — the two are GM’s biggest markets; the dramatic shift by consumers from traditional cars to utility vehicles; and the impact of tariffs and trade issues."
  • Colin Langan, UBS analyst: "GM's cost reduction efforts have been a key driver of its operating performance and have helped offset recent commodity & [currency] headwinds. We are impressed by GM's proactive cost actions, and remain bullish on the stock."

Go deeper

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.

Kids’ screen time up 50% during pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus lockdowns started in March, kidstech firm SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, that percentage hasn't budged, according to new figures from the firm.

Why it matters: For most parents, pre-pandemic expectations around screen time are no longer realistic. The concern now has shifted from the number of hours in front of screens to the quality of screen time.

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.