General Motors hoped at least 7,000 white-collar workers would sign up by noon Monday for a buyout offer, but managers told employees last week that it was likely to fall short, raising the prospect of significant layoffs, according to reports.

The number volunteering for the offer is likely be closer to 4,000 based on estimates by an actuary, some GM employees said managers told them, the Detroit Free Press reported.

That means 3,000 or more salaried workers in North America could be terminated starting in January if the automaker in fact opts for forced job cuts, which it has said it would consider if buyouts fell short.

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