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Local economy sees jobs boom

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Local hiring pushed the total number of jobs in Bartholomew County to a new record in August.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate edged lower. Bartholomew County’s jobless rate was 5.1 percent in October, tied with four other counties as the lowest in the state. It rose slightly to 5.3 percent in November, tied with Hamilton County for second lowest in the state.

Job growth was fueled primarily by the local manufacturing sector, including companies such as NTN Driveshaft and Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing.

TIEM’s forklift campus covers more than 1 million square feet on 126 acres east of Interstate 65 in Woodside Industrial Park. Including sister company Toyota Material Handling USA, which opened its new North American headquarters in Columbus this year, the campus employs about 1,000.

More jobs are in the pipeline. Fueled by hot sellers such as the Toyota Camry and Corolla, Columbus-based auto parts supplier Sunright America is investing $34.7 million to expand production and plans to add 150 employees within the next two years.

In July, the company broke ground on the first of two planned new plants in Woodside Industrial Park. Sunright employs about 200 and makes about 5 million fasteners a day. Each motor vehicle contains hundreds of such fasteners, also called nuts, to keep car seats affixed to the car’s frame and to help the steering wheel remain in place.

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