Harley Davidson, the Wisconsin based maker of the iconic American motorcycle, has announced hundreds of job cuts, in response to growing weakness in the economy and a downturn in motorcycle sales worldwide. Harley CEO Jim Ziemer said U.S. retails sales of the company's machines were down 12.8% in the first quarter, and Harley now plans to ship 23,000 to 27,000 fewer motorcycles in 2008 than in 2007. That decrease will be achieved by the reduction of the company's unionized production force by 370 workers, and by decreasing nonunion employees by 360 jobs. "We believe these actions will better position the Company for a business environment that we expect to continue to be challenging," Ziemer said in a statement on the company's web site .
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