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Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

General Motors said Monday that it will cut 15% of its salaried workforce, estimated to be around 14,700 people in North America, and that it will idle factories in Michigan, Ohio, Maryland and Canada.

The bottom line: GM said when it emerged from bankruptcy that it must be profitable in both good times and bad, and today's moves suggest that it is preparing for an economic downturn.

GM says it will "unallocate" multiple North American plants in 2019, which basically means those facilities will not be asked to make product. It's the first procedural step toward outright closure, which cannot happen before a negotiated labor union agreement. The affected plants are:

  • Oshawa Assembly in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Detroit
  • Lordstown Assembly in Warren, Ohio
  • Baltimore Operations in White Marsh, Maryland
  • Warren Transmission Operations in Warren, Michigan

The automaker also said it will close two other manufacturing facilities outside North America, in addition to a previously announced shuttering of an assembly plant in Gunsan, South Korea.

It anticipates the restructuring will cost between $3 billion and $3.8 billion, with the layoffs including 25% of GM's executive staff.

  • Future development will focus on electric-powered crossovers, trucks and SUVs, with sedans and gas-powered cars being de-emphasized.
  • GM stock was halted on the announcement, but then rose over 5% once trading resumed.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen co-opts Reaganomics phrase for new Davos speech

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at a speech this week. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. needs to focus on increasing its productive potential, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told world leaders Friday, calling for what she terms "modern supply side economics."

Why it matters: She co-opted a phrase traditionally used by political conservatives to describe low-tax and deregulatory policies — and framed the Biden administration's initiatives as the best path forward to achieve greater national prosperity.