Caterpillar to expand in Clayton, may be eyeing another NC plant
Posted February 1, 2012
Clayton, N.C. — Equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. said Wednesday that it plans to expand its manufacturing operations in Johnston County and will add 199 jobs in the next five years.
The company also is believed to be looking at a site on the Brunswick-Columbus county line for a plant that would employ 1,000 people.
Caterpillar will spend $33 million on the expansion in Clayton, which involves adding production lines for small-wheel loaders and building a design, engineering and test facility.
“As we see global demand for our products increase, we continue to make long-term investments like this in our facilities to help meet customer needs,” Caterpillar Vice President Mary Bell, who oversees the company's Building Construction Products Division, said in a statement.
The average annual salary for the new jobs will be $41,466, plus benefits. The average annual wage in Johnston County is $31,460.
The move continues a growth trend for Caterpillar in North Carolina following several rounds of layoffs in 2008-09 because of the global recession.
Last fall, the company opened a new operation in Sanford, which officials said would employ 325 workers within five years. Caterpillar also is building a $426 million plant in Winston-Salem to build axle assemblies for mining equipment.
Columbus County Manager Bill Clark said a company that he declined to identify is interested in a site off of U.S. Highway 74-76. The area is competing with sites in South Carolina and Georgia for the plant, he said.
Caterpillar was awarded a $400,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund to help with the Clayton expansion. No money is paid upfront, and companies must meet job and investment targets to receive payments.
The state Economic Investment Committee also voted to award a Job Development Investment Grant to the company. Under the terms of the JDIG, the company can receive 65 percent of the state withholding taxes from the new jobs for meeting annual performance targets.
If Caterpillar meets all of its goals for nine years, it could receive more than $1.6 million from the JDIG.