By Kirk Johannesen, The Republic

    Hourly employees at NTN Driveshaft will work fewer hours and days each week when production resumes Jan. 5 after a two-week shutdown.

    Employees will work seven hours for four days a week - 28 hours total - instead of traditional 40-hour weeks of five eight-hour days, said Dave Miller, vice president of administration. 

    "It was a decrease we had to make based on the economy," Miller said. 

    The reduction in hours is a cost-savings measure to help offset the decrease in sales in this slumping economy. 

    The reduction was approved last week and will continue until business improves. 

    "We're just trying to adjust to the amount of business as best we can," Miller said. 

    No layoffs have occurred, Miller said, but he declined to comment on whether the reduction in hours is an alternative to layoffs, or if layoffs are being considered. 

    NTN, which employs about 1,300, supplies continuous-velocity joints to all major automotive companies in North America. 

    Its products go into the types of vehicles consumers are buying fewer of: trucks, sport utility vehicles and crossover vehicles. 

    Miller said in November NTN's sales have dropped in the same range as the auto industry's 20 to 40 percent decline. 

    The sales decline dates to April 2007 and has been continuous. 

    NTN has utilized other costsaving measures such as cutting back on orders from its suppliers, and not using temporary employees.

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