Mich. Manufacture Expects To Hire 1,000 Workers

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Manufacturers are still cautious when it comes to hiring. But one Michigan company is going on a hiring spree. Gentex Corporation mostly makes car mirrors.

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And in Michigan, unemployment is even higher than the national average. But one auto parts manufacturer is on a hiring spree. The company is called Gentex. It make things like rearview mirrors.

As Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith reports, business there is brisk.

LINDSEY SMITH: Gentex has hired 1,200 people over the last couple years. Starting with 300 this week, the company expects to hire at least another thousand new workers.

Enoch Jen is a senior vice president at Gentex. He says that's a 65 percent increase in the company's workforce since 2008.

Mr. ENOCH JEN (Gentex): Since then, both the global economic recovery in the auto industry has been stronger than what many people expected, and there's been increased demand for some of our newer products.

SMITH: Those newer products include headlights that automatically adjust to changing light conditions, and rearview mirrors with built-in camera displays.

Michigan officials are giving Gentex a nearly two-and-a-half million dollar tax break for the company's investment and the much-needed jobs. Enoch Jen says the company turned down a generous offer from Alabama.

Mr. JEN: We're very tied to West Michigan. We think that our labor force is very productive. We like the community environment for families. However, we recognize that a lot of our automaker customers are locating their new facilities in the South.

SMITH: The small community where the company is headquartered is likely to sweeten the deal. It's considering taking another $7 million worth of local taxes liability off the company's books in exchange for the expansion here in West Michigan.

For NPR News, I'm Lindsey Smith.

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