SALEM, Va. (Feb. 25)—Yokohama Tire Corp. will lay off about 100 employees at its Salem plant. The positions will be phased out over the coming weeks, the company said. The layoffs are part of a plan to adjust inventory and production levels to meet slowing market conditions, Yokohama said. Over the past few months the company took production days out of its schedule to avoid layoffs. Because conditions have not improved, it said the layoffs were unavoidable. "In this highly competitive global marketplace, all tire manufacturers have to balance requirements with production capacity and inventory levels," said James MacMaster, executive vice president of Yokohama's business division. The last major layoff at the company's Salem facility took place in 1996, when about 125 were temporarily laid off. The current staff cut will leave the facility with slightly more than 1,000 employees, the company said.