Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Holland-based Energetx to hire 140 workers in 2010

Holland - About 140 new workers will be employed by Energetx Composites by the end of 2010. The West Michigan company also plans to create 1,000 green jobs by 2016, part of the 80,000 environmentally-friendly jobs Michigan expects to add in coming years.

Launched the summer of 2008 by the Slikker family, Energetx Composites is an advanced fiberglass composites manufacturer. Additionally, the company will provide engineering, tooling, design, process development and assembly for wind turbine components.

"Energetx is a proud Michigan company with a solid foundation that instead of resting on its laurels, decided to build on its strengths and expand into clean-energy manufacturing," Gov. Jennifer Granholm said in a state news release. "Its effort takes us one step closer to our goal of making Michigan the center of the nation's new energy economy."

Currently employing 18 workers, Energetx is in the process of hiring five to 10 additional employees to engineer, design and set-up the company's new manufacturing operations. Engineering professionals in tooling, advance composite design, manufacturing, quality systems and sales engineering are being recruited, and according to the company's Web site, the ideal candidate would be a "creative, energetic problem solver" posessing an engineering degree and project management experience in today's emerging wind energy markets.

The company expects to employ 160 people by the end of 2010 and offers medical, prescription and dental benefits, as well as opportunites to participate in training programs, health and wellness courses and recreational sports leagues. Employees also receive 401 (K) plans and may qualify for tuition reimbursement.

For additional employment information and current openings, visit www.energetxcomposites.com/job_openings.html.

Fisker Automotive closing Pontiac facility, 2 dozen jobs head to SoCal

Just one year after opening its Michigan engineering center in Pontiac, Fisker Automotive is relocating all two dozen Michigan employees to its Southern California headquarters.

The company announced beginning March 1st, its Irvine, Calif. headquarters will host all design, engineering, sales, marketing and administrative positions.

When Fisker Automotive, a venture-capital funded company founded by Fisker Coachbuild and Quantum Technologies, announced the opening of the 34,000 sq. ft. Michigan facility last year, the green-luxury-sports-car maker expected to employ up to 200 engineers and designers to work on development and production of the company's first extended-range plug-in hybrid, the Fisker Karma.

Sale of the $88,000 Fisker Karma has yet to launch, but after several reported delays, Green Car Advisor reports the hybrid is expected to go on sale later this year.

Relocating the Michigan jobs was part of a consolidation as the two-year-old company revs up its next extended-range plug-in hybrid program. The automaker also reported it will "dramatically" increase hiring in California, although the company has not specified when hiring will begin nor which positions will be filled.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

December jobless rate higher in most Michigan regions

Jobless rates increased in 16 of Michigan's 17 major labor markets during December, according to the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG).

The Detroit area was the only labor market to not see an increase in unemployment, according to DELEG statistics released today. Ann Arbor reported the lowest seasonally unadjusted jobless rate at 9 percent, while the highest recorded was 18.7 percent in the northeastern Lower Peninsula.

According to the DELEG, Michigan's three northernmost regions recorded significant seasonal hikes of at least 1.4 percentage points from their respective November jobless rates, while
the unemployment rate in the Detroit-Warren-Livonia Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) actually fell 0.5 percentage points last month.

Industries in which job loss occurred include construction, government jobs, the service industry and tourism.

Since Decemeber 2008, total employment has decreased across the state with significant drops in Holland-Grand Haven, Flint and Niles-Benton Harbor MSAs. Employment in all 17 labor markets has fallen at an average of 4.8 percent over the past year.

"Regional labor markets in December generally followed typical seasonal patterns" stated Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives, in the DELEG press release. "However, 2009 as a whole was anything but typical. Michigan not only faced the impact of the second year of a severe national recession, but also had to contend with the fallout from major restructuring within the auto industry. These two events caused regional unemployment rates to rise dramatically in 2009."

Michigan's seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 14.3 percent in December, which is up from 14.1 percent in November. The seasonally unadjusted jobless rate was 14.6 percent in December.

Brief: Road construction delays will cost thousands of Michigan jobs

Michigan's Transportation Commission is delaying hundreds of road and bridge construction projects scheduled for the next five years, which will cost Michigan workers thousands of jobs, because the state was unable to raise the money needed to match federal funding.

The Associated Press (AP) reports the state will dramatically drop spending from roughly $1.4 billion on roads this year with the help of federal stimulus funds to around $600 million for three out of the next four years, if Michigan fails to raise enough money to qualify for more federal funds.

State Rep. Richard Ball (R-Laingsburg) and Rep. Pam Byrnes (D-Chelsea) introduced a package of bills earlier this week that would raise just enough money to meet Michigan's federal matching fund requirements over the next five years — $240 million annually to start, and $480 million when fully implemented in 2013, according to an AP report.

Borders to close the book on 10 percent of corporate jobs

Borders, the second largest U.S. bookstore chain, plans to cut 10 percent of corporate jobs in an effort to lower costs.

The company, based in Ann Arbor, plans to layoff 124 workers, primarily in the finance and information technology divisions, Reuters reports. About 88 of the jobs are at Borders' headquarters, while the remaining 36 jobs will be cut elsewhere. Executives will not be affected by this mass layoff.

About 40 positions will also be cut from distribution centers in California and Tennessee.

"There's an ongoing need to balance the payroll and the overhead with the sales performance," Borders spokeswoman Anne Roman told Reuters.

The company has reported dwindling sales as consumers purchase more books and music online. Reuters reported Borders' sales dropped 14.6 percent during the 11-week holiday period that ended January 16.

Borders currently employs about 22,500 workers, mostly in the United States. The company operates 515 stores between it's namesake superstores and the Waldenbooks chain. However, the book-selling company is in the process of closing 183 Waldenbooks stores, and therefore, will only have 148 Waldenbooks stores open by early February.

Ford Motor Co. stabilizes after years of cuts, may see growth and add jobs

For years, Ford Motor Company, headquartered in Dearborn, has been slashing everything from employees to product lines.

However, recent signs point to the auto company’s stabilization and possible growth.

As Ford’s market share is rising again, consumer spending is beginning to increase and some of the company’s competitors – namely Toyota, which recently had to recall vehicles – are struggling, Detroit Free Press columnist Tom Walsh predicts the company is “poised to grow.”

According to the Free Press, Ford is not predicting an overall employment increase. However, the company announced this week the addition of 1,200 jobs in Chicago to assemble the new Explorer SUV, and the Free Press reported the company plans to add 1,000 workers in Michigan by 2012 to build electric and hybrid cars and battery packs.

To read Walsh’s full column, follow this link: http://www.freep.com/article/20100128/COL06/100128032/1318/After-years-of-cuts-signs-point-to-growth-for-Ford

Obama: 'Jobs must be our number one focus in 2010'

With the country's workforce suffering a 10 percent national unemployment rate, jobs were at the forefront of Wednesday's State of the Union address.

"Jobs must be our number one focus in 2010, and that is why I am calling for a jobs bill tonight," President Barack Obama said. "... People are out of work. They are hurting. They need our help. And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay."

To see Obama's comments regarding jobs yourself, follow this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYlrDESEZ5E to a CBS News clip from the State of the Union.

Acknowledging many Americans' frustration with the banking bailout, the President called for $30 billion of the bailout money repaid by the banks be used to assist community banks in extending more credit to small businesses. Obama further proposed a repeal of capital gains taxes on investments by small businesses, and he requested tax breaks for companies, both large and small, that create new jobs.

Charles Ballard, Michigan State University economist, told the Detroit News the president's proposals for businesses will be helpful.

“But we have to understand that given the damage that was done to the economy a year or so ago, it is going to take time,” he said. “And there is no set of policies that are a silver bullet.”

Michael Rogers, spokesman for the Small Business Association of Michigan, told the Detroit News any incentive Congress passes to make credit more available would certainly help small businesses.

“We hear all the time from small businesses that one of the major problems they face in this downturn is access to credit,” he said.

Luke Canfora, Michigan director of Repower America, a clean-energy advocacy group, told the Detroit News it's important clean energy is at the forefront of the President’s agenda.

"Here in Michigan, where so many auto jobs have been lost, we are ready to transition to green jobs," Canfora said.

For more statewide opinions of the President’s remarks Wednesday night regarding jobs, the economy and other issues read this article from The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100128/POLITICS02/1280421/1022/local/State-politicians-weigh-in-on-Obama-State-of-the-Union-speech#ixzz0dvln7rYk