Reliance mulls job cuts to clip excess overhead

Oct 23, 2007 | 03:33 PM | Frank Haflich

Not counting on a quick turnaround, Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. might be trimming its payroll soon.

The number of job cuts won't be significant in terms of Reliance Steel's total employment of about 8,600 as of the end of last year, which has probably increased since then due mainly to acquisitions. Nevertheless, it would mark the first time that Reliance—the second-largest U.S. service center chain whose performance is often considered an industry benchmark—has reduced its work force since the metals industry slump of 2000-03. While the overall number of people at Reliance actually increased during that recessionary period—also due to acquisitions—employment at existing operations fell more than 20 percent.

David H. Hannah, the Los Angeles-based company's chairman and chief executive officer, emphasized this past week that Reliance hasn't sent out a "corporate edict" to lop off a certain number of people, but he did note that when business is strong—as it has been for the past few years—"sometimes you build up excess overhead."....

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