Indiana making gains assembling vehicles

Indiana is racking up auto assembly jobs at a time the nation as a whole is losing them, an Indiana Department of Workforce Development study shows.

Employment in the industry shot up 53.1 percent, to 12,400, from 1997 to 2006, the study found.

The jump doesn’t include continued gains this year or the 2,000 workers that Honda Manufacturing of Indiana plans to have on its payroll when it opens an assembly plant in Greensburg next fall.

The findings were unveiled recently in InContext, a publication of Indiana University’s Indiana Business Research Center.

Indiana is benefiting from Japanese operations such as Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana Inc. and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. at a time Detroit car companies are closing plants in the traditional assembly states of Michigan and Ohio.

Toyota assembles vans, pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles at Princeton in southwestern Indiana, and Subaru has added Toyota Camrys to its assembly lines in Lafayette.

Michigan and Ohio sustained staggering losses in the nine years ended in 2006. Michigan lost nearly a third of its car assembly jobs and Ohio lost nearly a fourth.

The study discovered other hot spots within manufacturing despite the overall sector’s surrendering 13.2 percent of its employment in the past decade.

Manufacturing growth also was strong in the sector of motor vehicle bodies and trailers as well as medical equipment and supplies-mainly the prosthetics center of Warsaw.

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