… is Peoria’s loss. Thanks to Pat Lynch for a link to Chicago business article about Caterpillar’s strategic moves.

Caterpillar Inc. is emptying out its Illinois factories at the fastest rate in a quarter-century as it copes with a wrenching drop in global demand by accelerating a shift to producing equipment in lower-cost locales.

After the latest cutbacks, which have been playing out in recent weeks, the number of United Auto Workers members on the job at Caterpillar’s factory near Aurora is expected to be down by nearly half, to about 1,100, says Local 145 President Mark Patton. Plants in Pontiac and Decatur are expected to see equal drops, union leaders estimate. And at plants in the company’s hometown of Peoria, union employment will be down by a third to 4,400.

Another 600 workers in Decatur could lose their jobs building road graders when Caterpillar opens a plant in North Little Rock, Ark., later this year, and Peoria could lose as many as 800 jobs to a new engine-assembly plant near San Antonio