Unemployment drops to 8.5%

Slowly but surely, we’re starting to see a rebound in the US economy. Manufacturing is picking up, consumers are spending more and companies are starting to hire. The unemployment rate has now dropped to 8.5% after the economy added 200,000 jobs in December.

The jobs report builds on a several new indicators pointing toward an economy on the upswing.

The government reported Thursday that claims for unemployment benefits declined in the final week of December, moving the average over the past four weeks to its lowest level in more than three years.

The Institute for Supply Management reported this week that its employment index for December was 55.1, the highest reading since June. A reading above 50 means that more companies are creating jobs than cutting them.

The nation’s factories have added more than 300,000 jobs since the beginning of 2010 — about 13 percent of what was lost during the recession — marking the first sustained increase in manufacturing employment since 1997, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Auto sales in December were up, continuing their substantial improvement from the summer. And for all of 2011, vehicle sales rose 10 percent.

The auto numbers are critical. For example, Chrysler sales keep increasing and the company is adding jobs.

The economy has added jobs for 15 consecutive months so there is reason for continued optimism.

If you’ve been out of work and have given up, go back and start looking again.


Ford to Hire 7,000 Plus by 2012

Ford_Auto Show 1-10-11

Ford Motor Company has announced plans to hire around 7,250 workers by 2012. Included in the figure are 1,800 new hires for 2011 at the company’s Louisville, Kentucky plant. Of the 7,250 new hires, 4,000 hourly positions and 750 salaried positions will be added in 2011, and 2,500 hourly jobs will be added in 2012. Ford made the announcement during a presentation at the North American International Auto Show Press Preview in Detroit on January 10, 2011.

Besides Kentucky, it is not yet known where the other Ford jobs will be located. Ford executives have yet to reveal this information, but what has been revealed are more promising details about where the company, and the auto industry, are headed.

Ford’s domestic sales increased 15 percent in 2010, and its market share grew for the second consecutive year, an achievement it had not experienced since 1993.

Jeff Schuster, an analyst with J. D. Power & Associates, has projected sales would rise to 12.8 million vehicles in 2011 and 15 million in 2012, from 11.6 million last year. Ford and General Motors said last week that they expected industrywide sales this year of up to 13.5 million.

The hiring would give Ford nearly as many hourly workers in the United States as G.M., which also made drastic cuts in recent years and now has 53,000.

Both Ford and G.M. earned large profits in 2010, largely because of cutting labor costs and other expenses. Through the first three quarters, earnings were $6.4 billion at Ford and $4.2 billion at G.M. Neither has revealed their financial results for the fourth quarter.


GM and Chrysler to add a combined 2,000 jobs in Detroit


Here’s some great news on the jobs front.

General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC will be hiring engineers and other technical staff, creating a combined 2,000 high-tech jobs.

GM will add 1,000 engineers and researchers in Michigan over the next two years to work on technology behind vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt. And Chrysler said it is actively recruiting on 35 college campuses and encouraging resumes in a bid to add the professionals by April of next year.

The new Chrysler hires are for the automaker’s global work force, but most will be located at the Auburn Hills headquarters and technical center.

At GM, the new hires will work to expand GM’s vehicle electrification expertise to lead in the development of hybrids to electric vehicles with extended-range capability like the Volt.

The auto bailout last year was very unpopular at the time, but it’s clear now that it’s a huge success following the GM IPO, the success of GM and Chrysler and the fact that the auto companies are hiring again. Thousands of jobs were saved, and now new jobs are being created.


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