President Visits Asheville Maker of Construction Machinery Parts


President Obama today kicks off a three-day post-State of the Union tour to promote ‘made in America’ with a visit to a Canadian construction machinery parts manufacturer in Asheville, North Carolina.

The Linamar Corp. facility in Asheville illustrates the positive economic trends that Obama claimed credit for in his address Tuesday night and wants to encourage in a second term: more American and foreign companies moving manufacturing operations to the U.S. (“insourcing”); steady growth of skilled private-sector jobs; and effectiveness of government-sponsored hiring incentives.

In 2011, the company first set up shop in Asheville, lured by state grants and a pool of workers with technical skills to do the job.  It employs about 360 workers now with plans to hire 250 more and make a $75 million capital investment over the next five years.

“Training grants, tax credits, a fair business tax rate — those things really work,” Linamar President and COO Jim Jarrell told ABC News.  “We moved to North Carolina to take advantage of the incentives, knowing, however, that eventually we’d have to stand on our own two feet.”

But Linamar is also a bellwether for an economic recovery that continues to limp along, with little future “stimulus” in sight.

The company’s North Carolina facility, which makes key engine, transmission and driveline components for industrial machinery, feeds Caterpillar and Volvo.  Demand from those companies only follows demand from builders and construction firms, Jarrell said.  That demand continues to be “a little slower than anticipated out of the gate.”  Read More.