Automotive staffing to grow as U.S. plants hire more workers


Automotive staffing to grow as U.S. plants hire more workers
Automotive staffing to grow as U.S. plants hire more workers

Subaru and General Motors are among several companies operating in the U.S. that plan to add new shifts at assembly plants to meet the increasing demand for vehicles.

According to Indiana Public Media, Subaru is adding another 100 employees to its Subaru of Indiana Automotive plant in Lafayette. The company announced it is planning to spend about $75 million in the next two years to raise production capacity for its best-selling Outback and Legacy cars.

Tom Easterday, Subaru of Indiana executive vice president, said the higher production will have a community-wide effect.

"It's been estimated that anywhere from six to 10 additional jobs are created in the economy for every one job created at an international automaker," he told the news source. "That could mean another 600 to 1,000 jobs created in the economy. Many of our major suppliers - 26 of them - are located here in the state of Indiana."

The 52,000-square-foot expansion project is expected to begin later this summer, and will create as many as 100 jobs by the end of 2014. The company will use the new space to increase production of the car's body section. Subaru could see an estimated $950,000 in tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, according to the news source.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said the state is proud to help the company create jobs within the state.

"It comes to about a million dollars, but only if all the jobs happen," he said. "Our incentives, unlike some states which hand out cash, our incentives are purely conditional, only earned as jobs are put on the rolls."

Currently, some 3,600 Indiana workers are employed by the company at its 832-acre Lafayette production site. In the last three years, more than 600 workers have been added.

Not too far away in Motor City, General Motors plans to increase its automotive staffing by as many as 200 workers at its Chevy Volt assembly plant, the Detroit Free Press reports.

According to the news source, GM says it is preparing for increased production of both the Volt and the Chevrolet Malibu, and plans to hire more workers through employee referrals. GM spokesman Chris Lee said the increased hiring would come as the plant ramps up production to meet higher demand.

The increased hiring comes after GM faced a volatile early spring, as slower-than-expected sales of the Chevy Volt led to the temporary shutdown one factory in April. However, as sales bounced back in California, where new laws allow Chevy Volts to travel in high-occupancy-vehicle lanes, the company shortened the length of the downtime.

Once the company re-opens the plant after a minor planned shutdown in June, it expects to increase production of the new Chevy Malibu by bringing on new assembly shifts. Earlier, GM said it plans to add even more shifts to Malibu manufacturing plants, but the details are still hazy.

The earliest another shift is added, the news source stated, will likely be in late 2012 when the company launches the new Chevrolet Impala.

According to Bloomberg, GM also recently increased its auto staffing at a plant in Lordstown, with a total of three shifts now working to produce the Chevy Cruze. The uptick in automotive manufacturing is strongly supporting overall job growth in the nation, which fell from 8.2 percent in March to 8.1 percent in April.