President Barack Obama will be taking a trip to Lordstown, Ohio on Tuesday to speak at the General Motors Company plant there. It will be his first such visit as president. He plans to discuss jobs and the U.S. economy while there, with emphasis on the fact that General Motors is planning to reinstate more than a thousand laid-off workers at the plant.
The visit comes on the heels of major bailout funding by the Bush and Obama administrations and the bankruptcy and restructuring of both GM and Chrysler Group LLC.
The workers being recalled to the Lordstown GM plant are second shift workers who are now needed to meet the increased demand for automobiles. The Chevy Cobalt, one of the vehicles manufactured there, was in high demand during the recent government CARS rebate program. Sales of the Cobalt were reportedly 14% higher this past August than they were a year ago.
The reinstated auto workers will also be working to produce a compact model next year that will be even more fuel efficient.
The president’s message from Lordstown is seen as well-timed and sorely needed. Nationwide, unemployment hit a 26 year high of 9.7% just last month. Public Sector Consultants’ Craig Ruff said, “He wants to show proof that both Cash for Clunkers and the auto bailout program worked in putting people back to work. What better place to show the evidence, than a place where cars are rolling off the assembly lines?”
Obama’s approval ratings have suffered, in part due to his handling of the auto industry, but he continues to state his support of automakers. On Monday President Obama appointed Car Czar Ron Bloom as a senior manufacturing advisor, tasked with heading the struggling auto industry in the right direction.
In President Obama’s words, GM and Chrysler were “driven to the brink by poor management decisions over a long period of time, and like any business, they should be held accountable for those decisions.”
The administration’s auto task force has recently been asked to allocate additional funds (at least $1 billion) to auto suppliers, but they have not yet agreed to do so.