Hard times hit Cirrus

The rough economy took a toll on Tuesday on one of Minnesota’s biggest economic success stories — Cirrus Design in Duluth, a maker of light aircraft.

The company is going to furlough about 500 production workers in staggered segments for 30 days, according to AvWeb, an aviation news publication. The company is taking the action with a heart, however. It’s using furloughs instead of layoffs and will top the unemployment benefits pool and continue health insurance benefits while it tries to clear excess inventory of airplanes. Cirrus has facilities in Minnesota and North Dakota. About 300 of the furloughs will come in Duluth.

The move comes as one of Cirrus’ competitors in the light-jet business, Eclipse Aviation, has filed for bankruptcy.

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