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Company is hiring hundreds of American workers, building new facilities, and trying to improve efficiency

When you think General Motors Comp. (GM) you probably think of Detroit, Mich.  But the domestic automaker is also heavily invested in Texas, where it employes 4,500 people.  A two-shift plant in Arlington has 2,500 employees focused on building Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac SUVs.  GM Financial employs 1,800 at various locations across the state.  And there's two call centers with a couple hundred employees, as well.

I. GM Expands Texas Hiring

And GM isn't backing down from its friendship with the Lone Star State, whose former governor George W. Bush was the original architect, and to this day ardent defender of the bailout and structured bankruptcy that arguably saved the company from liquidation.

The company today announced plans to build a new IT center in Austin, Texas which will hire 500 professionals.  Among the positions GM is looking to fill are software developers, project managers, database experts, and business analysts.

The center will be located just miles from other industry giants, such as Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) largest U.S. call center and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KSC:005930) massive chip fab.

Arlington Plant
Among other locations, the new Austin data center will help serve GM's large
Arlington, Texas SUV plant. [Image Source: GM]

The IT center is part of GM's bid to centralize its formerly scattered IT efforts, which often operated pseudo-automously on a site-per-site basis pre-bankruptcy.  The IT consolidation should both drive cost savings, and -- according to GM -- "drive breakthrough ideas".  GM says the Austin center is the "first of several new IT Innovation Centers".

 GM Chief Information Officer Randy Mott cheered the move in a press release, remarking:

We want IT to keep up with the imagination of our GM business partners, and to do that, we plan to rebalance the employment model over the next three years so that the majority of our IT work is done by GM employees focused on extending new capabilities that further enable our business.

We anticipate hiring as many as 500 new GM employees in Austin.  We look to the Innovation Centers to design and deliver IT that drives down the cost of ongoing operations while continuously increasing the level and speed at which innovative products and services are available to GM customers.

The next generation of IT workers, the talented visionaries we want contributing at the Innovation Center, are being trained at top computer science schools in Texas and surrounding states.  The IT Innovation Centers are critical to our overall IT business strategy and transformation.

II. Bailout Benefits Finally Being Realized?

GM is also adding a third shift to its Arlington plant, which could raise wages for some and add at least a few hundred more well-paying skilled labor jobs, which come with health care benefits and a pension.  GM is also opening a $200M USD part stamping plant which will "create or retain approximately 180 jobs".

GM data center workers
GM IT workers (L-R) Dan Krzywosinski, Neal Bond and Michelle Lauka try to resolve a client issue at a data center in Warren, MI.  The workers will soon be getting new colleagues in Texas, courtesy of a GM IT hiring/improvement effort. [Image Source: GM]

The company has drawn a lot of fire over the last couple years over accepting government money and opting for structured bankruptcy/government takeover instead of a liquidation.  However, the hiring spree is a welcome trend amidst mass layoffs from the likes of Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM), Dell, Inc. (DELL), and Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ) in the tech industry.

Of course, Ford Motor Comp. (F) is also in the relatively small minority of companies looking to expand its domestic manufacturing and professional workforce in the U.S., and it received a more limited amount of bailout funds (in the form of certain Recovery Act grants for advanced vehicle development).

Ultimately the U.S. government estimates its losses on the bailout of GM, Chrylser, Ford, and industry parts suppliers to be around $25.1B USD.  However, that figure does not account for preserved spending power and taxable GDP -- which will likely return billions to the government.  In the end it's clear that something was lost, but something was gained as well in the auto bailout.

Source: GM

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Better here than in China
By Beenthere on 9/7/2012 8:00:35 PM , Rating: 2
It's nice to see GM create soem U.S. jobs for a change after eliminating tens of thousand and spending like a drunk in China while cutting it's U.S. workforce.

RE: Better here than in China
By wordsworm on 9/7/2012 9:39:47 PM , Rating: 2
Are you referring to the government or the general population, or both?

I remember that before FreeTrade with the US, folks at the grocery store made about $15-17/h. Now, they make less, but back then you could buy a house for 1/6 of what it costs now. Free trade was the worst thing the Conservative government ever did to Canada.

RE: Better here than in China
By Beenthere on 9/7/2012 10:33:47 PM , Rating: 2
It's good to see U.S. jobs being created. It's bad to see GM sucking up to the Chinese government so that they can sell cars in China. It's bad to see GM relocating it's R&D and other jobs out of the U.S. and to China.

A seach will show you what GM has been quietly (in the U.S. press) doing while GM brags about their actions in China.

RE: Better here than in China
By mugiebahar on 9/8/2012 9:14:41 PM , Rating: 2
while your right from w perspective , its a little more difficult then that. Free trade is not what people say it is, in that being a great thing but there was no choice. The world changed in the late 70's early 80's on the other side of the world. Cheap labor came in and communism was falling. Free trade allowed company's to access capitol that wasn't available before and compete in other markets as well (there is he'll of a lot more but that's diverging more) also interest rates were 20% and more in the early 80's. You couldn't buy a house for 400,000 with 20% and pay for it. The key to cheaper houses is higher interest rates (but you must factor in inflation as well) but doing that kills the automotive industries as you can't sell cars with high %interest. That's why you drove cars longer and 1 per house not 1 per person. Keeping us out of the world markets would have left us 15 years behind and exponentially more as time goes on. Young people would have left to go abroad and there goes the economy because old people don't spend like young materialistic people. So while yeah the rich get richer the poor would have become worse. Only because the whole world went that way. Its not necessarily right morally encouraging materialism but young people are what they see on tv. That's why we had no choice.

RE: Better here than in China
By Ringold on 9/9/2012 10:20:21 PM , Rating: 2
$15 to $17/hr for light, brain-dead menial labor is insane. For the zero skills and experience it requires, the US federal minimum wage is just about right, perhaps a dollar higher. Aldi's pay starts at $10.

And those wages don't fall out of the sky. You pay for it in your bill. If you feel they should be making more, nothing stopping you from tipping them a couple bucks every time you're at check-out. Put up or shut up, comrade.

Further, free trade has squat to do with what people at a grocery store make. Think about it. It's impossible. That labor is local and, until robots are cheaper and more effective, impossible to replace with workers elsewhere. People in Jackson, Mississippi can not bag you groceries in Canada, and thus can not compete with a bid down those wages. Economists would call it a non-tradeable good or service.

Exceptions: Free trade caused drastic, depression-level unemployment, pushing down the wages across the nation. That's not what anyone has ever claimed, though. Another exception: if millions of Americans cross the border to do low-wage work in Canada every day. Again, zero evidence of this.

Sorry to say, but if you don't know the reasons why free trade is a net positive, you don't understand the basics of economics. A great deal of even liberal economists like Paul Krugman are also free-trade advocates, it's only a minority on the left that's stuck in an uneducated 17th century view of the world and economics that still advocates otherwise, plus some 'green' types that would like to destroy global trade as a tool to weaken and isolate humanity more broadly.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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