Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Two West Michigan Companies Hiring Hundreds of Workers

Hey, I thought our business tax was keeping Michigan companies from hiring people. If only they got more tax cuts, things would be great, right? Turns out that no, that's not true at all, and if customer demand is there for the product, they will add jobs - end of story.

First up is Perrigo. Based in Allegan, the "world's largest" over-the counter generic drug manufacturer had been doing very well for themselves lately, as all those boomers are starting to hit those golden years and need lots and lots of medication for their aches and pains.

Following a 70-job addition in the fall, Allegan drugmaker Perrigo plans to hire 100 mostly white-collar positions in West Michigan, the company announced Tuesday.

The majority of the jobs require at least a two-year degree, the company's director of talent acquisition told 24 Hour News 8. In contrast, the fall hires were largely manufacturing positions, she said.


Current Perrigo openings include 30 quality assurance and control positions, 20 information technology jobs, as well as roles in operations leadership, supply chain, engineering and science, according to a Perrigo news release.

Hiring is starting now. The positions are posted online, and the company asks that you apply online as well. Just follow that link.

And as reported here just recently, automotive supplier Gentex, based in Zeeland, is hiring 240 new employees; 140 factory jobs and 100 salaried software engineers and technicians. They are having a jobs fair today from 9-5 at the Doubletree Hotel in Holland, 650 E. 24th St. The company makes mirror products for automotive and aerospace - and, for all the complaints about how "regulations" are hurting business, this is one instance where a safety regulation is creating the demand for the product. Know what else it did? It pushed their stock price higher as well.

Auto-dimming mirror maker Gentex Corp. had already counted on its rear-camera display system to double in sales next year. But now, the sky may be the limit.

After federal safety officials called for such systems to be standard equipment by 2014, investors sent Gentex stock to at least a 20-year high of $27.17 Friday, before closing at $26.89, up $4.06, or nearly 18 percent, on Nasdaq.

The already-popular rear-camera product moved up the food chain, when federal officials proposed new safety rules Friday.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommended rear-camera systems as the best way for drivers to see the blind spot when they are backing up. The move is an effort to avoid driveway tragedies, when an child playing behind the vehicle, in a blind spot for the driver, is killed when the car backs up. By 2014, every new vehicle may be required to have such technology on board.

It saves lives, it creates jobs, it increases company profits, and everybody benefits. So, who says regulations are a bad thing? Might want to re-think that position, and start taking a look at all the win going on in this particular case. Chances are it is happening with other regulations as well.

One disturbing note reported in all of this good news though: Manpower, usually pretty positive in their hiring outlook surveys, reports that "employers were slightly less optimistic than they were about early 2010" when it comes to hiring new people in the months ahead - but they aren't really planning on letting go of people either. Add that to a slight dip in Comerica's Economic Activity Index in October, and we see an economy that is still trending upward - but we certainly are going to have fits and starts along the way.

Bottom line: It's all about consumer demand. Taxes and regulations are basically an afterthought. While it's hard to root, root, root for more "consumption", until we change the basic fundamentals of our consumer economy, that's what we are stuck doing for now. In the meantime, it's good to see the jobs coming to West Michigan to meet that demand. Guess that MBT wasn't such a job killer after all.