President Barack Obama visited a Caterpillar Inc. manufacturing complex in East Peoria, Ill., Feb. 12. The complex is home to the company’s signature track-type tractors and pipelayers — machines that play an important role in developing the world’s infrastructure. This equipment would be critical for projects that are part of the economic stimulus legislation now pending final approval by Congress. The President visited the manufacturing facilities and talked with Caterpillar employees about the importance of the economic stimulus bill.
“We are delighted to have President Obama visit our East Peoria manufacturing operations this afternoon,” said Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Jim Owens. “Demand for Caterpillar products has dropped sharply in recent months as the global economy has entered a recession. Caterpillar is responding to the downturn and positioning itself for a turnaround in the global economy. The passage of significant stimulus packages in the United States and abroad would help move the global economy toward a recovery, and if these packages are enacted quickly, they could stimulate demand for our products. That would hopefully provide Caterpillar the opportunity to recall employees who have been laid off during this downturn.”
Owens added, “The tractors and pipelayers made in East Peoria are used for infrastructure and mining projects in the U.S and around the world. In fact, more than 55 percent of the products made in East Peoria are exported from the U.S. As a bellwether company for the global economy, we are experiencing the unprecedented depth of this still unfolding global recession and we believe strongly a fiscal infrastructure investment will create construction jobs in the near term, and enhance the competitive position of the U.S. in the global economy.”
Owens was named to the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which will provide independent economic advice to the president. During that meeting, Owens invited President Obama to visit a Caterpillar facility.
For many decades, Caterpillar has been a major U.S. exporter, and in 2008, Caterpillar exported more than $16 billion in products from its U.S. facilities. Caterpillar has manufactured track-type tractors in East Peoria for nearly 100 years, and since then, these machines have been used in the development of infrastructure projects such as the U.S. Interstate Highway System, Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge and many other initiatives across the United States and around the world.
For more information, visit www.cat.com.