Reporting Bill Hudson
BLAINE, Minn. (WCCO) — If you want to hear what economic recovery sounds like, listen closely. It’s the din of machinery pressing out steel parts is sweet music to the employees of a Blaine metal stamping plant.
“It’s nice to be out here when there’s so much noise and it’s hard to have a conversation,” said John Ottosen.
He’s the plant manager at Bermo, Inc. Over the past 14 months, the Blaine company has more than doubled its workforce, hiring another 140 people.
But it’s not just people that are needed to keep up with customer’s demand for steel parts. Bermo is purchasing and installing sophisticated metal stamping equipment. Two more precision lasers will be installed soon to slice through up to inch-and-a-half steel.
“We’re receiving new equipment monthly and hiring new people weekly, daily now,” Ottosen said. “It’s great to call people and offer them a job rather than the opposite.”
Bermo’s not alone, as other manufacturers across the state see increases in factory orders, production and hiring. That’s welcome news to Enterprise Minnesota, the manufacturing industry’s trade group.
“About 80 percent of the manufacturing in our state is in precision parts for some kind of further up the food chain equipment,” said Enterprise Minnesota President Bob Kill. “And so there’s robust job creation across the state also.”
The strength of the manufacturing sector is one reason the stock market continues to show rebound. Orders for more tractor, truck and recreational vehicle parts will only add more strength to a recovering economy, putting still more people back to work.
“I hired two new people today and got another interview tomorrow,” said Ottosen.