State News

Caterpillar picks N.C. for second plant in a week

Posted August 5, 2010

— Heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc. announced an expansion at its Sanford plant on Thursday afternoon, bringing more than 300 jobs back to a facility that has seen cutbacks in recent years.

Gov. Beverly Perdue and other state and local officials were at the plant to herald the $28.3 million expansion, which is expected to add 325 jobs over the next four years. An unidentified Caterpillar supplier is also expected to bring 160 jobs to North Carolina to work with the plant, officials said.

“For the second time in less than a week, Caterpillar is making a major investment in North Carolina and strengthening its ties as a corporate citizen of our state,” Perdue said in a statement. “By expanding its stake in North Carolina, Caterpillar has demonstrated that our own investments in education, worker training, transportation and infrastructure have paid off.”

Last Friday, the company said it would build a $426 million factory in Winston-Salem to produce axle units for large mining equipment. It could employ about 500 full-time and contract workers in five years.

Caterpillar will build a 270,000-square-foot addition to the Sanford plant that will house logistics and robotic welding lines to produce skid steer loaders and other equipment, officials said. About half of the new production is slated for export, they said.

Construction is expected to start in September, with production beginning by next July, officials said. The average annual wage for the new jobs will be $35,602, plus benefits, they said.

The Sanford plant and another Caterpillar facility in Clayton have experienced several rounds of layoffs since late 2008, as the company adjusted to the global economic slowdown.

Caterpillar machinery Caterpillar to add 325 jobs in Sanford

Lee County's unemployment rate is more than 12 percent, and Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive said it was difficult for her to stop smiling on Thursday with hundreds of new jobs on the horizon.

"This has been a hard couple years for Lee County," Olive said.

Charles Childress, who lost his job as a machinist five months ago, already lined up an interview for Monday for a job at Caterpillar.

"It's hard to find a job. It really is," Childress said. "I know a lot of people out there need work, and there's a lot of people out there qualified (for the Caterpillar jobs)."

Caterpillar employs 1,026 full-time workers in seven North Carolina counties, and with the economy stabilizing, the Peoria, Ill.-based company appears to be gearing up for growth again.

Lee County commissioners in June offered Caterpillar up to $900,000 in incentives to land the plant expansion.

Caterpillar also was awarded a $600,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund, which provides cash grants to attract business projects to the state. No money is paid up front, and companies must meet job creation and investment targets to obtain the funding.

Also, the state Economic Investment Committee voted Thursday to award a Job Development Investment Grant to Caterpillar. Under the terms of the JDIG, the company is eligible to receive a grant equal to 75 percent of the state withholding taxes on the new jobs for each year in which it meets annual performance targets.

If Caterpillar meets the all of the targets during an 11-year period, it could garner $3.46 million from the JDIG.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Grandpeople Aug 6, 2010

    August 5, 2010 7:23 p.m.
    Really, so Bush who has been out of office for more than a year has caused all these problems. I think you better take a better look at what's going on. Mr and Mrs. all I want to do is play and go on expensive vacations are to blame. Thank goodness one company will be hiring again. Only hope the current Dem. govenor has put hiring requirements of NC residents in the hand out to them. 2012 won't be here soon enough.

  • rroutput Aug 5, 2010

    "BTW - if the December '08 layoff was fair&expected, why did Caterpillar call the police earlier that same day because they feared there might be "incidents" when they made the "expected" announcement a week before Christmas?"

    Because more than once in Clayton, they had hostage situations (more than one) where some bumpkin showed up with a gun -- lovin Johnston County.

    The Bush administration did more damage to the economy than any administration before it or since.

  • Baybee Doll Aug 5, 2010

    Another plant going up in a place where it isn't needed. How about Raleigh or Garner?

  • baseballbpp2 Aug 5, 2010

    Why are they opening new plants when they just laid off from 2 existing plants in North Carolina. We shouldn't give new tax incentives since they received credits for the two they just laid off from. The plant in Clayton is only a couple of hours from the one they are going to build in Forsyth County. We are short on money and can't afford to keep teachers but can keep giving to the same companies that move from one area of the state to another. Sounds like a waste of taxpayer money.

  • clayt85 Aug 5, 2010

    Here's an observation: the same ones who blamed Gov. Purdue and the Democrats when various companies were laying off employees now (as companies are rehiring) claim that she is in no way responsible for the state's job development. You can't have it both ways, kids.

    Generally speaking, North Carolina is home to many of the most recession-proof areas in the country, and has a long history of significant achievement over and above other states in the region (i.e. the South). And for that, you can blame the Democrats all you like! :-)

  • geosol Aug 5, 2010

    This is just HORRIBLE!!! Just like everything else that the angry old man on the radio who tells me what to think says. Everything is just terrible now.

  • arfamr1006 Aug 5, 2010

    Okay. I'll keep sending a resume. I always heard it was a nice place to work.

    it is. if youre willing to show up, do your job, and pay close attention to the quality of your work, it's a great place to work. Benefits are great!!

  • babbleon Aug 5, 2010

    Bryan D, Claude: Good points.

    There is a strong feeling of anxiety around the country, and GOLO has a lot of people who vent that anxiety without restraint. Nothing that is done is good, everything is bad, the sky is falling. Be nice to them - they are afraid, and they're letting their fear talk. In two hours, they'll be off afraid of something else.

  • arfamr1006 Aug 5, 2010

    and much of the incentive money you people whine about is for FREE training for locals to move into the job openings that will come available. so BOO HOO....don't apply if you don't like it. We don't need your bad attitudes!!

  • arfamr1006 Aug 5, 2010

    It's not the CAT shareholders, it's spendulous money.

    stimulus money is not being used to pay for this project. Cat money is. all roughly $30 million of it. at least Cat is bringing jobs back from mexico in this garbage business climate that Obama is making. Can't say the same for most companies.