Raytheon Technologies Corp. confirmed Thursday it has eliminated an undisclosed number of Collins Aerospace employees on a companywide basis.

Before the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March, Raytheon had about 1,500 Collins employees in Winston-Salem. Many of those employees were required to take furlough weeks that began during the second quarter.

The company did not disclose how many jobs were affected at each operation. Media reports indicate a sizable number occurred at its Cedar Rapids, Iowa, operations that once served as the headquarters for Rockwell Collins Inc. There are also media reports in Northern Ireland of 235 job cuts there.

“Collins Aerospace continues to experience and forecast reduced business due to COVID-19,” according to a statement. “While we were hopeful the previous cost-cutting steps to align our business with lower levels of commercial demand would be enough — they simply were not.

“This week, we have made the extremely difficult but necessary decision to implement an involuntary separation program across our U.S. operations. Impacted employees will receive a separation payment, transition payment, and continuation of benefits, in addition to outplacement services to support impacted employees through the transition.”

Gregory Hayes, the company’s chairman, chief executive and president, told analysts Tuesday that “I think it’s important to note, the commercial aerospace reduced to about 8,000 positions. Some of those will come back with volume. Some of them will be permanently reduced.”

Richard Craver

Lowe’s provides another employee bonus in August

Lowe’s Cos. Inc. said Thursday it will provide an additional $100 million in COVID-19 related bonuses to assist associates with unforeseen expenses and hardships.

The latest funding round raises the total contribution amount during the pandemic to nearly $600 million.

Full-time hourly employees will receive $300, and part-time and seasonal employees will receive $150, all by Aug. 21.

Richard Craver

Home furnishings orders surge 220% from April to May

The reopening of many home-furnishings retail stores in May contributed to a 220% surge in new orders, according to a monthly report released Thursday by Smith Leonard PLLC, a financial-services company in High Point.

The May orders were at $2.28 billion, up from $884 million in April. However, the orders were down 8% from $2.47 billion in May 2019.

About 19% of survey participants reported a year-over-year increase in orders compared with a year ago.

For example, home-furnishings retail sales were at $9.57 billion in June, up 32.5% from May, but down 3.5% from a year ago, the U.S. Commerce Department reported.

Ken Smith, the firm’s director of furniture services, said the May results “continued to show positive trends for continued improvement.”

“From what we have heard, June and July business has continued to improve with some saying that business has been better, volume wise, than last year.”

Richard Craver

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