Caterpillar moving HQ from Oak Creek, bringing up to 250 jobs to South Milwaukee

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SOUTH MILWAUKEE — Caterpillar has announced it is moving its headquarters from Oak Creek to South Milwaukee. This, according to South Milwaukee’s mayor. The Oak Creek facility is Caterpillar’s headquarters for its global surface mining division.

In a blog post, South Milwaukee’s Mayor Erik Brooks said Caterpillar, based in Peoria, Illinois, announced to its employees on Monday that it will close sell its Oak Creek corporate building on S. Howell Avenue and move between 200 and 250 jobs back to South Milwaukee in the first half of 2016.

The full blog post is below:

“Caterpillar announced to its employees on Monday that it will close sell its Oak Creek corporate building and move between 200 and 250 jobs back to South Milwaukee in the first half of 2016.

These are salaried professional workers in finance, human resources, legal, marketing, etc. — many folks who had been working in South Milwaukee prior to the opening of the Oak Creek mining headquarters in the former Midwest Airlines building about five years ago.

The move is not a surprise, given Cat’s announcement last month of up to 10,000 global job cuts and other consolidations coming in light of a continuing slumping mining industry. (Competitor Joy Global also announced job cuts last week.)

While it’s hard to call this great news — certainly when taking a broader perspective with economic development — it does strengthen Cat’s presence in downtown South Milwaukee and should help area businesses.

Cat also continues with its plans to invest in its manufacturing presence here.

A company spokesman tells me that the South Milwaukee plant — now in the company’s Surface Mining and Technology group — will be focusing on rope shovels and draglines going forward, and Caterpillar continues to plan investments in the facility in the next three years to meet eventual demand. Cat had previously announced the closure of 250,000 square feet of manufacturing space, while investing in the space that remains.

I’ll keep you posted.”

Caterpillar has not made an official announcement, and officials could not be immediately reached for comment, the Milwaukee Business Journal reports.

This move comes after Caterpillar announced on September 24th that job cuts could exceed 10,000 through 2018 — and that up to 5,000 employees will lose jobs between now and the end of 2016.

The moves are aimed at cutting $1.5 billion in annual costs as the global growth outlook continues to darken.

Caterpillar is heavily exposed to the turbulence ripping through the world’s economy. Nearly 10% of the company’s revenue is generated in China, where the country’s economy is shifting from infrastructure-led growth to being more consumer driven.

The shift has led to a dramatic economic slowdown and many anticipate China will continue to stumble as its economy goes through a difficult transition.

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