Manufacturing industry seeing growth - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Manufacturing industry seeing growth


CEDAR FALLS (KWWL)-- The recession has hit many industries hard.  But the manufacturing industry started seeing jobs slip away long before the recent economic slump.  However, the industry is now starting to see some growth, including right here in the Cedar Valley.

Unemployment in Iowa sits just under seven percent.  And for the thousands of those struggling to find work, more jobs in any industry is certainly welcome news.  The Institute for Supply Management reports that even if manufacturing job growth stays flat, it will be the largest gain in jobs for the industry since 1994.

Like many businesses, Target—and it's manufacturing and distributing facilities—have felt the effects of the economic recession.

"We felt similar response to the market like any other retailer did.  Our growth obviously has been less than what it was in previous years," said Zachary Shimp, general manager of the Target Distribution Center in Cedar Falls.

But these days, things are looking up.  You'll find "now hiring" signs prominently displayed outside the Cedar Falls Target Distribution Center.

"We're going to expand our shift in our food building early next year, early 2011.  With that, we're hiring people for that expansion, around 100 employees, to fill out that additional shift next door," Shimp said.

It's especially good news for folks like Ryan Yossi who have been looking for a steady, good paying job.

"Jobs are a little tough to come by out there.  Luckily I've had opportunities to work seasonal and 9 month jobs in my field.  But it always comes that time of year where as this position ends, what do I do?  Do I give up or just find something to get through for the time being?" Yossi said.

And while Target says it can't see into the crystal ball and predict whether the current growth will stick around, the company is glad to be in a position to expand and offer jobs to many who need them.

"It's great, and the workforce in this area has been fantastic since we opened up almost 7 years ago," Shimp said.

And as the holiday season approaches, there will be more opportunities with seasonal jobs, helping put some of the unemployed back to work.

Nation-wide, the Institute for Supply Management reports that more than a quarter of all manufacturing companies are now adding staff.  Here in Iowa, that's quite valuable since manufacturing makes up the largest percentage of the economy.  The industry contributes more than $20 billion to the gross state product each year.

And if you need more proof of industrial job growth, here it is.  Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo is hosting an "Industry Job Fair" this Tuesday, October 5.  More than a half dozen area employers will be on hand to talk with job seekers about their openings.  Starting wages for those positions range from $10-15 an hour.  The job fair runs from 4-7 p.m. in Tama Hall on the Hawkeye Campus, Room 107B.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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