Automotive manufacturing production jumped 5.2 percent in July, the largest gain of the year, according to a Federal Reserve report released Tuesday.
The continued strength from the auto industry and suppliers helped boost overall industrial production 0.9 percent – doubling economists’ expectations for factories, mines and utilities. Factory output, which makes up about 75 percent of industrial production, increased 0.6 percent.
Tuesday’s report followed the announcement that Zeeland-based Gentex Corporation, plans to expand its West Michigan facilities, creating up to 1,100 direct new jobs and investing $160 million.
Gentex begins some of the new hiring next week.
The March natural disasters in Japan disrupted automotive supply chains worldwide, the same period when oil prices jumped before falling again over the summer months. But Michigan’s manufacturing sector has continued to show strength.
For example, the Detroit Free Press noted General Motors saw July deliveries climb 7.6 percent over July 2010.
Manufacturing has led the nation’s economic recovery since the recession officially ended in June 2009. When the auto industry is excluded, July manufacturing numbers were up 0.3 percent after a 0.2 percent gain in the prior month.