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Car Makers’ U-Turn Steers Job Gains

Wall Street Journal (01/23/12) Joseph White

Major auto makers and their suppliers are spending billions to expand and retool U.S. factories. The Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, MI, reports that auto-industry employment in the U.S. is predicted to increase to 756,800 in 2015 from 566,400 in 2010, with most of that increase in Michigan. Big major auto companies indicate they expect to increase capital spending in the next few years.

A report from staffing company ManpowerGroup estimates a net 10% of Midwest employers plan to hire in the first quarter, after factoring in companies that will cut jobs. That figure is the strongest result for the region since the third quarter of 2008, and slightly surpasses the national forecast of 9%. “With the global economy continuing to expand and the automotive industry yet to see more gains, there’s medium-term sustainability to this trend,” says William Testa, director of regional research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, of the Midwest hiring outlook.