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Indiana University

Media advisory: IU experts discuss today's Toyota jobs announcement

February 8, 2012
Bloomington, Indiana --

Editors: In response to news this afternoon, Feb. 8, that Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana plans to invest $131 million to consolidate its Highlander mid-size SUV production and create up to 400 jobs at its Princeton plant by 2013, here is information from experts at Indiana University Bloomington who can offer additional perspective. Arrangements can be made for live in-studio television interviews.

Image of Timothy SlaperTimothy Slaper, director of economic analysis at the Indiana Business Research Center, based in IU's Kelley School of Business, and author of the recent report "Where the Jobs Are," said today's Toyota announcement is another example of how "parachute" firms, which grow by more than 100 employees from one quarter to the next, are stimulating state job growth.

"I think I can express the delight of all Hoosiers upon hearing Toyota's announcement that 400 new production jobs will be coming into the state as the company expands its Princeton plant operations. These jobs are 'exhibit A' for our research on the two main engines of job growth in Indiana," Slaper said.

"Our research found that Indiana's small businesses are indeed net job creators, but we also found that the state's economy is dependent upon investment from outside the state to create jobs," he added. "In our recent report, we called the latter 'parachute jobs' because employment growth occurred so quickly. It is as if hundreds if not thousands of jobs parachuted into the state practically overnight.

"While Toyota's direct investment is not related to Indiana recently becoming a right-to-work state, and while the full employment effects of right-to-work status will not be felt for a few years, in the increasingly competitive global economic environment, right-to-work certainly will not hurt Indiana's future ability to secure the parachute jobs upon which its economy depends," Slaper said.

Slaper can be reached at 812-855-7475 or tslaper@indiana.edu.

Image of John GrahamJohn D. Graham, dean of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs and co-author of the 2011 report "Plug-In Electric Vehicles: A Practical Plan for Progress," said Toyota's announcement reflects that the company is rebounding from the disastrous March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and Japan's unsettled economy.

"The last few years have been difficult for the major auto companies but even worse for Toyota," Graham said. "Both adverse currency fluctuations and the disastrous tsunami have undermined the profitability of Toyota's Japanese production facilities.

"Now it appears that Toyota is recovering and the company is committed to increasing the share of its global production that occurs outside of Japan. Toyota's plant in Princeton, Ind., plays an important role in Toyota's global corporate strategy. The expanded production plans for the Highlander are good news for Toyota and very good news for Indiana."

Graham is an authority on government reform, energy policy and the future of the auto industry. He was director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the White House Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2006. Reporters can reach him at grahamjd@indiana.edu.