Ford expands Ohio plant, adds jobs

The U.S. automotive industry is driving the national economic recovery, as it has made strides since the financial collapse that trampled auto underfoot. How good are things for the industry now? About as good as they can get. Data analysis from WardsAuto found North American light-vehicle manufacturers built 97.1 percent of their two-shift capacity in 2012. The percentage represents the highest rate since the news source first started tracking such data in 2005 and is well above 2011's 83.4 percent and 2009's 51.9 percent of capacity.

WardsAuto noted increases in overtime and the number of plants working three-shift schedules were key to the production increase. It all adds up to labor, and more cars being made means more employees making them. Top tier automakers are adding jobs and auto recruiting agencies are kicking talent searches into the next gear.

Ford invests in Cleveland plant, creates jobs
The latest example of high-profile auto companies making a splash in hiring news is Ford's recent announcement of its plans to renovate an Ohio manufacturing site. The automaker said it would invest around $200 million to upgrade a Cleveland plant to produce small, turbocharged engines, which are in high demand, the company said.

A huge benefit of that investment is Ford's intention to add 450 new jobs to the Cleveland Engine Plant. Those newly created positions would then help Ford progress past the halfway mark on its quest to add more than 12,000 hourly jobs in the United States by 2015.

Ford had previously made waves in auto employment news after it announced its largest hiring plan for technology and engineering jobs in more than a decade. The Detroit area-based automaker said it would add 2,220 white-collar jobs in the near term.

The refocus on the Cleveland plant can be attributed to high consumer demand for emission-friendly engines the factory is set to produce. Ford said it plans to more than double sales of vehicles equipped with its EcoBoost engine. Production of the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine would begin in Cleveland around late 2014.

"Cleveland Engine Plant was the first to produce EcoBoost engines and will continue to be a cornerstone of Ford's strategy to deliver affordable fuel economy for millions," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas.

The auto industry has regained its pre-recession form, and then some. Job creation is high on the list for top tier automakers; as such, auto and manufacturing recruiters are well-positioned to lead talent searches for new positions.