GM Investment Paints a Bright Picture for KC Auto Manufacturing
by Jeff Pinkerton
Detroit has been synonymous with auto manufacturing ever since Henry Ford rolled out the first Model T in 1908. However, we also have a proud auto manufacturing history right here in Kansas City. And with today’s announcement of the new 400,000-square-foot, $600,000 million paint facility at the General Motors plant in Fairfax, it looks like our region will have a proud future in auto manufacturing as well.
Between the Ford plant in Claycomo and the GM plant in Kansas City, Kan., roughly 8,000 workers are employed in the motor vehicle manufacturing industry in the region. And these are good-paying jobs — the national average wage in this industry is $80,000 per year.
Nationwide, the number of people employed in the motor vehicle manufacturing industry has declined by 42 percent since 2001, and now stands at about 161,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are recent signs, however, that the employment level in this industry is stabilizing.
The new GM facility is not expected to add much in terms of employment, but it is a very large investment in Kansas City. Todays’ announcement by GM and Ford’s recent commitment to invest in the Claycomo plant ensures that auto manufacturing will be a major economic engine for the Kansas City area economy for years to come.