U.S. auto plants may operate at about 81 percent of capacity this year

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 23, 2012

The third shift has returned to many car factories in the U.S. – resulting to a 24-hour-a-day production, which many automakers had stopped doing due to the industry collapse in 2009. One of those who benefited from this is General Motors’ worker Bobbi Marsh who works at the metal-stamping plant in Lordstown, Ohio, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. IHS Automotive estimates that this year, the U.S. auto plants may operate at around 81% of capacity after dropping to as low as 49% in 2009.

These new third shifts, which add over 4,300 jobs in four states at just GM, provide jobs to the economy and give revenue to governments as well as demand at unusual hours for services like daycare, dentistry, financial services and food. Marsh likes being on the overnight shift since it allows her to spend evenings with her son.

Automakers are raising output at its plants after U.S. light-vehicle sales increased by a minimum of 10% for two consecutive years for the first time since 1984. U.S. sales grew at a quicker rate than China (the world's biggest auto market) -- the first time in 13 years. Among the biggest beneficiaries are those who were affected the most by the downturn like Michigan and Ohio. [source: Bloomberg]

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