Friday, June 22, 2007
It turns out that senior board members back in Japan are concerned that the world’s most successful auto maker is too spread out in North America. It is cheaper to build the cars in Japan and send them here, but Toyota has been gaining political backing by handing out assembly lines in places with cheap labor. The jobs in Tupelo will be significantly below the southern norm and the plant is not being built out for expansion. There is no reason to believe construction will not be delayed, and layoffs are not impossible. Word is that Toyota plans to hire lots of part-time workers with no benefits, kinda’ like Wal Mart.
Let’s not gloat over this. Marion still won’t get the assembly line either. The Beebe administration policy of going after many economic development opportunities in various sections seems to be vindicated as well. Northwest Arkansas gets the air-gun manufacturing jobs and Nestle is expanding in Jonesboro. The education system is working harder in the Delta and better jobs are on the way there too.
(Broadcast June 21, 2007)