The recession hit the automotive industry hard , but there are signs of recovery, particularly in the south. Michigan is still has the highest concentration of motor vehicle manufacturing employment, but southern states including Kentucky are growing fast.
Last year Kentucky was ranked 3rd nationwide in auto production midway through the year with more than 600,000 produced.
- Ford is Kentucky’s largest automotive employers with a plant in Louisville, where the Escape is manufactured.
- Ford’s Expedition and Lincoln Navigator are made in Kentucky as well.
- Toyota’s North American manufacturing operations are based in Kentucky and the Camry, Avalon and Venza are built there.
- Overall, the state is home to about 450 automotive-related industries that employ about 80,000 workers, according to the office of Governor Steve Beshear’s office.
Auto manufacturing’s love for Kentucky is nothing new (Ford has built here for more than a century), but reinvestment in existing plants over the last few years is encouraging to local jobseekers. As factories upgrade systems to meet variable production demands efficiently, they need reliable, experienced workers to help them keep up.
Growing consumer demand ranges from increased fuel efficiency to maximizing towing capacity in new vehicles and sourcing reliable aftermarket parts to keep older vehicles on the road a few years longer.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the automotive parts industry is even larger than OEM vehicle manufacturing. These parts include:
- Electrical and electronic equipment
- Engines and transmissions
- Brake systems
- Seating and interior trim
- Steering and suspension components
- Motor vehicle stamping
Jobseekers looking for career opportunities would be wise to consider both OEM manufacturers and aftermarket suppliers in their search.
Jobs in Manufacturing
Automotive jobs range from entry level production to engineering and plant management to skilled trades. Qualifications vary depending on position. Production, maintenance and material handling may only require a high school education. Roles in management, engineering, research and design will require several years of experience and a bachelors degree at minimum and skilled trades such as welding will need some combination of trade school, apprenticeship and hands-on experience.
Industry experts are cautiously optimistic about the job outlook for automotive manufacturing sectors. Partnering with a staffing and recruiting team with industry expertise can help ensure that you find opportunities that match your skills and experience. Contact the professionals at Malone Staffing to help you find a job for that offers the best fit for you and your career goals.