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Tu-Uyen Tran, Published June 03 2009

ECONOMIC BRIGHT SPOT: Cirrus recalls 15-20 jobs in Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Fifteen to 20 workers furloughed at Grand Forks’ Cirrus Design aircraft factory will go back to work soon, a company executive said Tuesday.

The callback affects another 30 to 35 workers at the Duluth plant and the sales force worldwide, said Todd Simmons, vice president of marketing.

That leaves a total of 125 workers still furloughed out of a work force of about 810, of which 152 work in Grand Forks and 654 in Duluth.

More exact numbers will be available in coming weeks, Simmons said.

The company said Monday that it was calling back 50 workers because sales had picked up enough to require it to bump up the number of aircraft made per week from six to eight a week.

Cirrus’ downsizing began in September, when the company slashed the Grand Forks work force by 10 percent and the Duluth work force about 7 percent. More cuts came in October and November, when it furloughed 500, of which 165 were at the Grand Forks plant.

At that point, Cirrus was making three to four planes a week.

Sales recovered enough by the end of April that the company was able to announce that it would make six a week, though it said greater efficiency meant it didn’t need to call back very many workers.

The increase to eight a week, though, will require many more.

At its peak Cirrus made 12 planes a week and employed about 1,300.

The Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.