BMW increases production again; seeks 600 more workers

Published 12:33 pm Friday, October 8, 2010

BMW Manufacturing is planning to hire another 600 workers as it continues to ramp up production on its new assembly line at the Greer, S.C. plant. The latest hiring wave would bring the total number of employees added in the past few months to 1,600.

The company is hiring all of the new workers as contingent associates, or temporary workers, but it says it will begin transferring some of the contingent staff members to full-time positions.

BMW, which now employs about 7,000 people at the Spartanburg County plant, says it needs additional workers to keep pace with global demand for the BMW X5 and X6 models. BMW reported a 20.5 percent increase in U.S. sales in September, boosted in part by X5 and X6 sales.

The company also is planning increased production with the release of the new BMW X3 later this year.

MAU Inc., which hires temporary workers for BMW, plans to hold a job fair at Spartanburg Community College Tyger River Campus on October 13 and October 20. Online applications are available at www.mau.com/bmwjobs.

***

Biltmore Estate will be holding a job fair on Tuesday, Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lioncrest facility on the estate. Biltmore Estate is seeking employees for about 35 food and beverage positions. Hiring managers will attend the fair. Most of the positions are seasonal, but some career opportunities may be available.&bsp; For more information or to download an application visit www.biltmore.com.

***

Nypro Inc., a global leader in manufactured precision plastics products, will expand operations and add about 120 jobs in Buncombe County. Nypro is involved in a multi-county project with Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company and leader in diabetes care. The two companies combined plan to invest about $161 million in Johnston and Buncombe counties and created 241 new jobs over the next four years.

Nypro, which currently employs about 362 full-time employees in North Carolina, is planning to add 75,000 square feet to its plant in Buncombe County. The company will supply plastic injection molding, components and assembly for Novo Nordisks new insulin delivery device. &bsp;

***

Affiliated Computer Services Inc, a subsidiary of Xerox, plans to add 600 agents and supervisors at its call center in Raleigh. The 11-month-old center currently has 450 employees. The new employees will handle technical support and consumer relations calls.

***

“Area Development” magazine has ranked South Carolina and North Carolina third and eighth, respectively, in the country for businesses considering sites for investment. The magazine conducted a survey of top site consultants in the country to compile the ranking. The consultants evaluated states in each of the following categories: shovel-ready sites, lowest business costs, most business friendly state, labor climate, corporate tax environment, workforce development programs, fast-track permitting and rail and highway accessibility.

South Carolina was the consultants top choice for lowest business costs and was third in the categories of most business friendly, corporate tax environment, labor climate, workforce development programs and fast-track permitting. Tennessee topped the Area Development ranking, followed by Texas.

While North Carolina did not fare as well in the site selection survey, it has been in the top five of other business rankings recently, including Forbes Best States for Business 2009, CNBCs Americas Top States for Business, and Chief Executives Best/Worst States for Business 2010.

South Carolina previously received recognition from “Business Facilities” magazine, which ranked it first in the country for economic growth potential, second for wind energy manufacturing leaders, third for automotive manufacturing strength, fourth for best business climate and ninth for alternative energy leaders.

***

North Carolina had in 2009 the lowest rate of child deaths on record, according to a study by the N.C. Child Fatality Task Force.

The death rate dropped 6 percent in 2009 to 67 deaths per 100,000 children, down from 98 deaths in 2009 and 136 in 2008. Fewer infant deaths and a 28 percent drop in cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome helped contribute to the lower death rate last year. Deaths from vehicle crashes also declined last year, according to the task force, which credited stricter teen driving laws, infant and child safety seat requirements and seatbelt rules for backseat passengers.

The child fatality rate has declined an impressive 37 percent since the inception of the Child Fatality Prevention System in 1991, said Elizabeth Hudgins, the executive director of the task force. These data show that focused public policies can create and maintain infrastructure, raise public awareness, and generally make lives better for North Carolina children and families.

***

North Carolina has begun damage assessments in 19 counties in the eastern part of the state following recent flooding. The Onslow County Emergency Management and Homeland Security already has estimated damage there at nearly $7 million. Officials there say flooding made about 40 homes and 20 apartments uninhabitable. In Carolina Beach, officials say approximately 637,000 gallons of untreated wastewater spilled from manholes due to the heavy rain. The wastewater spilled into Myrtle Grove Sound and Carolina Beach Lake.

The recent flooding also is expected to reduce the yield for cotton, soybeans, peanuts and sweet potato crops, according to state agriculture commissioner Steve Troxler. After touring the region, he said many crops were under water, and only 11 percent of the cotton crop had been harvested and only 31 percent of the sweet potato crop had been dug. Harvesting was just starting for the peanut and soybean crops.

***

Buncombe County has approved new regulations for development on mountain slopes and ridgetops. The county board of commissioners approved stricter subdivision rules and new zoning changes for lots above 2,500 feet with an average slope greater than 35 percent. In subdivisions, the steep slope rules apply to lots with an average slope of 25 percent or more. Under the regulations, the minimum lot size requirement increases as the steepness of the slope increases. The countys planning board has worked on new steep slope rules for the past few years and held multiple hearings. Proponents of the new rules say they will protect the countys mountain slopes from excessive development and ensure greater safety in mountain subdivisions. Opponents say the regulations limit property owners right and may negatively impact building and development.

***

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has expanded an investigation into foreclosures by 14 additional mortgage lenders. Cooper has asked the lenders to suspend foreclosures while he tries to determine if they approved foreclosures without a suitable review process.

Foreclosures have to happen when people dont pay, but homeowners deserve a fair shot at keeping their homes when possible, says Cooper. If mortgage companies are using potentially unlawful practices to push through foreclosures in North Carolina, that needs to stop.

The state requires lenders to make a good faith effort to modify loans before proceeding to foreclosure. The 14 mortgage companies identified by Cooper are: Bank of America, Citi Mortgage, J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, PHH Mortgage, SunTrust Mortgage, OneWest Bank, PNC Mortgage, American Home Mortgage Servicing, BB&T Mortgage, MetLife Home Loans, HSBC, US Bank Home Mortgage and Aurora Bank.

***

Jim Black, the former speaker of the N.C. House, has been released from federal prison. Black pleaded guilty in 2007 to taking thousands of dollars from chiropractors while pushing their agenda in Raleigh. Black was released from a prison in Jesup, Ga., and now will serve the remaining six months of his sentence at a halfway house near Charlotte. To earn the early release from prison, Black completed a 500-hour program for people with drug or alcohol problems and he has paid a $1 million fine to the court. Black, leader of the N.C. House for eight years as speaker or co-speaker, also entered an Alford plea to state charges of bribery and obstruction of justice following his federal guilty plea. The Alford plea allowed him to acknowledge that the charges may result in a conviction without admitting guilt.