Midwest manufacturing leads the US revival

There has been a great deal of discussion about a U.S. manufacturing renaissance, and the Midwest is leading the way in job growth. Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin, along with Tennessee and Kentucky, hold more than half of the 500,000 domestic manufacturing jobs gained between March 2010 and March 2013, according to The Financial Times. The Rust Belt states accounted for three-quarters of the job growth nationally during the same period. With so much growth in the region, Midwestern manufacturing firms may want to consult Chicago recruiters to find talent for new positions.

The growth of manufacturing in the region has been largely attributed to the recovery of the auto industry. Manufacturing in the Midwest has recovered to 96.5 percent of its 2007 output level, according to the most recent Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index. This marks a 27.6 increase in output in the region over the past three years. Chad Syverson, an economist at University of Chicago, estimated 123,000 of the new manufacturing positions were in the auto sector, FT said.

Positive hiring trends for the Midwest
As auto sales have increased, major U.S. automakers and foreign producers like Toyota with large American plants have announced plans to hire new workers to meet demand. Automakers typically plan hiring months or years in advance based on demand forecasts, The Street reported. This week, Ford announced plans to hire or recall 2,000 workers. Ford has a goal to create 12,000 hourly jobs in the U.S. by 2015, and this addition means the company is three-quarters of the way there. General Motors also announced plans earlier this year to invest in four of its Midwest plants to expand production. Chrysler has added 1,000 new jobs in 2013 in its Michigan truck plant, and intends to add 1,100 positions in an Ohio factory. 

The rest of the gains in Midwestern manufacturing jobs have come from the machinery and fabricated metals sectors. Growth in the agricultural industry has created increased demand for tractors. 

Manufacturing hiring in the region is diverse. Chicago's biotech industry is booming, according to Crain's Chicago Business. This industry has boosted the sector, and Chicago-area manufacturing jobs grew 5 percent in Q4 2012. Bioscience requires highly specialized workers, indicating much of the job growth will be in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. With great potential for growth, firms may want to seek recruiting agencies to fill new positions.

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