Looking Up: Pockets Of Economic Strength

Millions of Americans are still searching for jobs or facing home foreclosures. For them, the Great Recession drags on into its fifth year. But for others, the U.S. economy is looking up.

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10:01pm

Tue March 13, 2012
Looking Up: Pockets Of Economic Strength

Auto Parts Suppliers Hiring As Fast As They Can

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 6:17 am

Workers build cars on the assembly line at the Ford Motor Co.'s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., in December. As auto sales boom, parts suppliers are having a tough time finding the labor they need to catch up, having lost workers during the recession.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Part of a series

Detroit automakers are creating thousands of new jobs amid a sales boom. And as they expand, their suppliers are racing to keep up, adding tens of thousands of new jobs.

At Bridgewater Interiors in Warren, Mich., for example, the pace is intense. Hundreds of union employees scurry to fill a growing list of orders. The factory floor is packed with stacks of foam cushions, seat covers and headrests.

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2:47pm

Tue March 13, 2012
Looking Up: Pockets Of Economic Strength

Optimism Rising Along With The Number of New Jobs

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 8:10 pm

Economists say job growth plays a big role in how consumers are feeling about the U.S. economy.
Robert Galbraith Reuters/Landov

Part of a series

As 2011 was winding down, consumer spirits were starting to rise. Now the momentum has carried into the new year, with polls showing consumer sentiment continuing to improve.

Economists say that negative factors, such as falling home values or rising meat prices, are nowhere near as important as the growth in jobs.

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2:18pm

Tue March 13, 2012
Looking Up: Pockets of Economic Strength

Factories 'Reshore' Some Work From Overseas

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 11:44 am

AGCO employees work on the assembly line in the company's newly expanded Jackson, Minn., manufacturing plant. The expansion brought the facility's staff from 850 to 1,050 workers and allows the plant to make tractors that were previously made in France.
Jackson Forderer for Minnesota Public Radio

Part of a series

During the worst of the Great Recession, U.S. factory jobs were disappearing at a furious pace. As 2007 began, about 14 million Americans were working in manufacturing.

Three years and one frightful recession later, only 11.5 million were.

But since 2010, employment has been ticking back up, with companies adding about 400,000 jobs.

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10:01pm

Mon March 12, 2012
Looking Up: Pockets of Economic Strength

Record-High Food Prices Boost Farmers' Bottom Lines

An Illinois farmer checks the blades on his combine while harvesting corn last October. The value of the 2011 U.S. corn crop was more than $76 billion.
Seth Perlman AP

Part of a series

Thanks to high commodity prices and surging productivity, U.S. farmers earned a net income of nearly $98 billion last year — a record, according to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

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2:35pm

Mon March 12, 2012
Looking Up: Pockets of Economic Strength

On Utah's 'Silicon Slopes,' Tech Jobs Get A Lift

Josh James co-founded the Web analytics site Omniture in 1996, then sold it to Adobe for $1.8 billion in 2009. Domo is James' latest startup.
Derek Smith

Last year, Utah created jobs at a faster pace than any other state in the country — with the single exception of North Dakota. While the boom in North Dakota is being driven by oil and gas, the hot job market in Utah is being powered by technology companies.

Computer-system-design jobs in Utah shot up nearly 12 percent in 2011. Scientific and technical jobs jumped 9.7 percent. With job opportunities expanding, the state is having little trouble attracting new residents.

For Jill Layfield, the decision to move here from Silicon Valley was not a tough call.

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