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Factory jobs on the rise in traditional hubs, unexpected places


Factory jobs on the rise in traditional hubs, unexpected places

Across the U.S., the manufacturing recovery has been robust, to an extent that not even some of the more optimistic experts might have predicted during the recession. All that growth in recent years has led to significant construction projects for the industry, both in places where it long flourished and those where it is starting to gain a true foothold.

For instance, in Troy Township, Ohio - just 45 minutes outside of Cleveland - the sheet glass manufacturer NSG Pilkington North America recently announced it will build a new plant measuring some 511,000 square feet, according to the Toledo Blade. Specifically, the glass maker will concentrate the facility's production efforts on making glass that can be used in solar panel manufacturing.

"It is all really exciting," Todd Huffman, overall project manager/solar projects for NSG Pilkington, told the newspaper. "It's a great opportunity for our company. ... This is a transition from a commodity product to a technology. This is the highest technology base in the world right now."

In all, NSG Pilkington plans to employ about 150 people at the new plant, which will open in 2020, with 40 of them salaried and 110 earning hourly wages, the report said. In all, the facility will produce about 130,000 tons of the specialized solar glass each year.

Expansion in the Land of Lincoln
Meanwhile, in Rockford, Illinois, a long-time local company is expanding its manufacturing facilities and operations as well, according to the Rockford Register Star. At the beginning of the 2019, Rockford Systems LLC will move from the three-building facility it has occupied for nearly five decades to a single new leased building measuring 38,000 square feet near Chicago Rockford International Airport.

The move will also allow the company - which makes safety equipment for other manufacturers - to hire at least a dozen new workers over the course of 2019, the report said. In any given year, Rockford Systems employs between 50 and 75 workers, so this is significant growth by proportion; the firm has already hired 15 new people since the end of 2017.

Unexpected growth in California
Furthermore, the Golden State's Inland Empire, relatively close to Los Angeles, has seen significant manufacturing growth over the last two years, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise. About 99,600 people were employed in the region's manufacturing sector at the end of October, with hiring sentiment apparently on the rise as well. More than 2 in 5 companies in the area now say they think the economy is going to keep improving in the months ahead.

"For us, it's a little bit crazy now," Eugene Montanez, co-owner of the signage manufacturer Allegra Marketing told the newspaper. "We're hiring people as fast as we can hire them."

When companies want to make sure they are able to attract and retain top talent, they need to also make sure their salary and benefits offerings are stronger than those of their competitors'. Especially in a tight job market, that effort could spell the difference between meeting production goals or falling behind. 

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