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Ford Motor Co. and Dow Chemical Co. joined a growing number of companies firing thousands of workers as sluggish U.S. growth and Europe’s deepening recession lead to a persisting slump in sales.

North American companies have announced plans to eliminate more than 62,600 positions at home and abroad since Sept. 1, the biggest two-month drop since the start of 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Firings total 158,100 so far this year, more than the 129,000 job cuts in the same period in 2011.

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