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The RV industry’s resurgence has resulted in the creation of about 3,500 jobs in two Indiana counties during the past year, an economic development official told the Elkhart Truth.
William Bradley, executive director of the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County, told the newspaper the jobs were created in Elkhart and LaGrange counties, which are located along the Michigan border in the north central part of Indiana.
According to Indiana Workforce Development (IWD) figures, the 3,500 jobs is equivalent to about 3% of the work force of the two counties. In March, based on the most current figures available, 93,470 Elkhart County residents were employed and in LaGrange County, 15,210 people were employed.
In March 2003, when the RV industry was in a relatively slow period because of low consumer confidence prior to the invasion of Iraq, there were 91,970 Elkhart County residents and 15,350 LaGrange County residents who were employed, the IWD reported.
The RV industry in northern Indiana often has to deal with shortages of qualified workers when the industry is strong and other IWD data suggests that could be the case again. In fact, the IWD reports that the jobs most in demand in Elkhart County now are those found in RV plants, including assemblers, production laborers, production helpers and machine forming operators. Welders, construction carpenters, painters, construction and maintenance workers also are in demand, according to the IWD.
Competition for qualified labor could become even more intense, Bradley said, because an auto parts manufacturer is considering Elkhart County for a new plant that would employ 500 people. Bradley said he could not identify the auto parts manufacturer.