Pulte Homes Closing the Door on 1,900 Workers

Despite Pulte Homes’ well-designed corporate career website flashing, “Are you looking for a company that will double in size over the next five years?” the truth is a bitter pill to swallow for approximately 1,900 current employees nationwide.

As part of a restructuring plan designed to reduce costs and improve operating efficiencies, Pulte Homes said it is eliminating 16% of workers (approximately 1,900) in marketing, construction, administrative, and other positions.

Severance packages will include one week’s salary for each year of service, with a minimum of four weeks, with healthcare benefits paid for the same number of weeks, according to a Pulte spokeswoman.

In Florida, the cuts are being felt on both sides of the state. On the west coast of Florida, as many as 25% of the 55 employees in Pulte’s Sarasota-Manatee division will lose their jobs. The company will cut many administrative functions as it consolidates the Sarasota Pulte division into the Southwest Florida division. Executives and managers there will feel the cuts first.

“The people working in the field selling, building, and servicing homes will be less affected,” Steve Kempton, Pulte Homes’ Sarasota division president, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Acknowledging a “downward trend” in homebuilding, the company also has plans to close two offices on the east coast of Florida (Palm Beach Gardens and Treasure Coast) and transfer functions to the Orlando office.

In Arizona, Pulte will consolidate its three Phoenix-area divisions into two, and plans to eliminate positions in both management and field operations. The company counted 1,190 Arizona-based employees in 2006.

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The company did not disclose how many workers from each region in the country will be affected.

The Fortune 200 company had about 11,900 workers nationwide before the cuts, down from 12,400 in 2006 and 13,400 in 2005. Pulte previously reduced its workforce by approximately 25% in 2006 and early 2007.

“The homebuilding environment remains difficult and our current overhead levels are structured for a business that is larger than the market presently allows,” said Pulte’s chief executive officer, Richard J. Dugas, in a statement.

The Bloomfield Hills, Michigan-based company said it expects the cuts this year to save about $200 million on a pre-tax basis.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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1 Comment on “Pulte Homes Closing the Door on 1,900 Workers

  1. As the bubble deflates on the West Coast, these types of moves will become more common.

    As speculative buyers who got in high on a 2 years fixed load with a balloon payment or a conversion to an ARM find that the home they bought at 500k is now worth 420k (or less) and they are not able to refinance, foreclosure will increase inventory while decreasing demand and will accelerate the “correction” of the real estate market.

    What is even more alarming is what could happen to consumer spending – much of it has been driven by the “free equity” generated in the madness of the last 7 years of price run-up that people thought could go on indefinitely.

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