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Posts Tagged ‘auto employment’

Ford Wants to Boost White-Collar Hiring by 36% – But Struggles to Find the Talent

Maker turns to Silicon Valley for qualified electronic engineers.

by on Jul.23, 2013

Ford has plenty of jobs open. Now it needs to find the right candidates - but that isn't as easy as in the past.

Ford Motor Co. hopes to hire about 3,000 engineers and other professionals this year a third more than originally planned — but standing conventional wisdom on its head, the Detroit maker is finding it difficult to come up with enough ready, willing and able white-collar workers to fill all those spots.

And it’s not alone.  Cross-town rivals General Motors and Chrysler have been trying to re-fill their own employee ranks decimated by cutbacks during the Great Recession, as have scores of automotive suppliers.  But a surprising number of those slots remain open for lack of qualified talent.

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“It’s much more difficult getting the right people” than it was in decades past, laments Felicia Fields, group vice president of Human Resources for Ford, reflecting a shift in “the type of people” the automaker needs in an era when high technology systems have become as much a part of today’s vehicles as traditional, mechanical devices.


Help Wanted: Automakers Can’t Fill All the Jobs

U.S. auto industry on a hiring binge and struggling to find necessary workers.

by on Apr.03, 2012

Automakers can't meet demand for all their open jobs.

The jobs were there, more than 1,000, according to the Engineering Society of Detroit, with everyone from the Detroit automakers to Korea’s Hyundai looking to hire.  What, or more precisely, who weren’t there were the job-seekers.

March was another good month for the U.S. auto industry, which is expected to report another month of double-digit, year-over-year sales gains today.  After years, of cutting back production – closing dozens of plants and eliminating an estimated 88,000 jobs during the Great Recession – that means automakers are racing to build back up production capacity.  They’re also looking to fill empty slots in design, engineering and other departments cut to the bone during the industry’s worst downturn in decades.

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Detroit makers alone have created 10s of thousands of jobs since hitting bottom in 2009 with the bankruptcy of Chrysler and General Motors.  And their foreign-owned rivals are also putting out the “Help Wanted” signs.  Volkswagen is already planning a second round of hiring at its new assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  BMW is expanding at its factory in South Carolina.  Hyundai’s Alabama assembly line needs more help to meet booming demand.


Auto Industry on Hiring Binge

Domestics and imports both putting out “Help Wanted” signs.

by on Jul.07, 2011

VW has already hired 2,000 workers at its new Chattanooga plant and will add still more for a planned second shift.

It seemed like the best of times; following its takeover by the German Daimler AG, Chrysler counted nearly 71,000 hourly workers on its U.S. payroll.  But by the time the partnership collapsed and the maker was rapidly plunging into bankruptcy, in 2009, the blue collar workforce had slipped to just 21,000.

The situation wasn’t all that different across town.  As the industry sank into its worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and many analysts began to doubt whether Detroit’s Big Three makers would survive, the makers raced to close plants, abandon unpopular brands and slash employment.  Once employing close to a million hourly and salaried workers worldwide, General Motors emerged from its own run through Chapter 11 with a workforce barely a tenth that size.

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But two years later, there’s a very different situation.  Chrysler, for one, has boosted its blue collar headcount by more than 2,000 since hitting bottom in ’09, and several company sources tell that the maker is likely to keep rebuilding its factory rolls, especially if sales and share keep rebounding.  GM and Ford are also hiring.

And the “Help Wanted” signs aren’t just out in Detroit.  The new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee has already hired 2,000 workers, while that number will grow by at least another thousand when the maker adds an anticipated second shift at the sprawling factory, which is producing an all-new version of the midsize Passat designed specifically for the American market.


Car Sales on the Rebound – Will Workers Benefit – Especially in Detroit?

Job cuts largely over, but how many new jobs will follow?

by on Jan.17, 2011

Vehicles roll down a Ford assembly line.

“We’re back,” shouted Detroit radio host Paul W. Smith at the gala public opening of the North American International Auto Show.

The flood of consumers onto the show floor – which is running at a higher level than the Detroit Auto Show has seen in years – suggests a new level of confidence among both potential car buyers and the folks who build those automobiles.  A long-running series of studies by Comerica Bank has routinely found a direct link between auto show attendance and actual automotive purchases.

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Most analysts, such as J.D. Powers and Associates, are now forecasting car sales will jump from around 11 million last year to somewhere close to 12.5 million in 2011, with the optimists nudging that even higher.  Paul Taylor, chief economist for the National Auto Dealer Association, forecasts sales will nip 12.9 million.

Considering U.S. auto sales peaked, a decade ago, at just over 17 million, “A couple years ago we would have been horrified” to be selling so few cars, says Rebecca Lindland, chief analyst with IHS Automotive.  But it’s all relative, she admits, especially in light of the dismal 9 million sales of 2009, so anything pointing up is definitely a better direction than the industry has seen the last few years.

Just ask anyone on the unemployment lines in Michigan, where the jobless rate has been running significantly above the national average – in some regions, like Detroit, nearly double.


Unloved Ex Saturn Plant to Get New Ecotec Engine

GM North America President Mark Reuss and Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen make announcement this Friday.

by on Sep.15, 2010

Some jobs returning to the under-used Spring Hill complex are better than none.

General Motors Company said today in a media invitation that it will make a powertrain investment announcement in its Spring Hill complex in Tennessee at 10 a.m. central time Friday.

The sprawling plant is only partially used since now defunct Saturn models were transferred to a now closed plant in Delaware and the Chevrolet Traverse model was moved out of state to Michigan.

Informed opinion from multiple sources has it that Spring Hill will make an upgraded version of the “Ecotec” four-cylinder engine in anticipation of increased need for more fuel efficient engines as more stringent emission and fuel economy regulations take hold starting in 2012.

The plant already makes four-cylinder engines for the popular Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain midsize crossover vehicles, and the Buick LaCrosse full-size sedan. Industry observers have it that GM is about to phase out larger and more fuel thirsty V6 and V8 engines in many of its models.

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Mark Reuss, GM’s North America president; Joe Ashton, United Auto Workers vice president – GM Department and governor Phil Bredesen will be at the press conference. UAW members are privately saying that some 400 laid-off workers will return to work.


Ford Gets Loan to “Export” to Canada and Mexico

Latest example of an emerging industrial policy from U.S. Government or just more election year deficit spending?

by on Aug.05, 2010

“I put my money on the American worker."

The Export-Import Bank of the United States will guarantee a loan to finance $3.1 billion of Ford Motor Company “export sales” to Canadian and Mexican markets. The loan from the Federal agency will underwrite the sale of about 200,000 Ford vehicles.

The announcement came as the President of the United States visited a third Detroit Three auto plant in less than a week, defending his increasingly unpopular economic polices during a mid-term election year.

This time, President Obama was at a Ford plant in Chicago that will make the new Explorer. Ford of course made billions from what is arguably the most popular sport utility  vehicle of all time, but it stayed with a heavy, relatively crude body-on-frame design for a decade after it became clear that more efficient, comfortable unit-body “crossovers” were the configuration of the future.

Unlike GM and Chrysler last week, Ford made no attempt to publicize the event, leaving all the promotion to the White House in what I take to be Ford’s latest attempt to distance itself from the wildly unpopular taxpayer subsidies that went to those two bankrupt companies last year.

Ford has now received a $5.9 billion Department of Energy credit line for the development of fuel-efficient vehicles, as part of the $787 billion government stimulus plan promulgated by the newly established Obama Administration in 2009. Part of the money went to refurbish the Explorer plant.

The Administration – under heavy criticism because of a slumping economy and high unemployment rates despite massive Federal government spending – claimed that the new export loan will help meet a previously announced goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years. (See Ford CEO to Serve on President’s Export Council)


U.S. Automobile Industry Makes $500 Billion Dollar Contribution to the Economy

Latest study shows more than eight million jobs created.

by on Apr.22, 2010

There are sound economic reasons why all industrialized nations, except the U.S., protect their auto industry.

The U.S. auto industry provides a substantial contribution to U.S. economic health, according to the latest study released this morning by the Sustainable Transportation and Communities group at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR).

The non-profit research organization looked at the economic and employment impact of automakers, parts suppliers, and dealerships in contributing to the economies of all 50 states.

The automotive industry spends $16 to $18 billion dollars a year on research and product development, half a trillion dollars on employee compensation, and is the major leader of the overall manufacturing contribution to the gross domestic product.

“It is difficult to imagine manufacturing surviving in this country without the automotive Sector, said Kim Hill, director of the Sustainable Transportation and Communities group at CAR, and the study’s lead.

“The industry’s impact is huge on a host of other sectors as diverse as raw materials, construction, machinery, legal, computers and semiconductors, financial, advertising, health care and education. In this time of national introspection concerning the value of the U.S.-based auto industry, it is clear the value is quite high,” Hill said.