Manufacturing jobs return to Person County
Posted February 24, 2011 5:41 p.m. EST
Updated February 24, 2011 6:26 p.m. EST
Nearly one out of every 10 workers in Person County is out of a job.
Years ago, the county lost hundreds of jobs when manufacturing plants closed or moved their production abroad.
Dialight, a manufacturer of LED lighting technology, was one of those companies. Ten years ago, it moved its operations to Mexico.
“Everybody was so disappointed, because everybody that worked here loved this place,” said Joyce Stewart, who lost her job at the company.
But starting in 2010, a lot of jobs returned, because of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which required that stimulus-funded LED traffic signal upgrades use only U.S.-made equipment.
Right now, Dialight is the only company in the country that produces the equipment that meets the new mandate.
That means those manufacturing jobs had to return to North Carolina.
“It looks very, very favorable for us, right now, in Roxboro to continue this growth for a couple of years,” said Dialight plant manager James Sargeant.
During the past year, Dialight has added about 100 jobs. It plans to add more in the future.
As for Stewart, she was brought back to the job nine months ago.
“It’s good for the economy in Person County that these jobs are coming back,” she said