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NUMMI closure expected to hit Manteca hard in 2010

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POSTED October 22, 2009 2:17 a.m.
The impact of the March 2010 closing of the Fremont NUMMI plant will send shockwaves through the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

The loss of 4,600 jobs combined with 1,000 suppliers employing at least 20,000 others in Northern California is expected to send Manteca unemployment soaring.

The San Joaquin Partnership has estimated that if all of the job losses from NUMMI hit at once – which is unlikely – Manteca’s unemployment would jump as much as 3 percent from the current 13.5 percent to 16.5 percent.

That’s because a wide array of suppliers – from large parts such as glass and Tacoma truck bodies from the Stockton Dana plant – to smaller firms that make upholstery items as well as trucking firms that ferry the parts over the Altamont Pass to Fremont are dependent on the New United Motor Manufacturing. Some of those supplier jobs are expected to last longer as parts for Toyotas could be shipped to other assembly plants.

Stockton unemployment – which is now at 18.6 percent - could go as high as 25.6 percent.

The bad news was delivered Tuesday to the City Council by City Manager Steve Pinkerton while discussing the municipal budget and the economic outlook for the next eight months in Manteca.

The San Joaquin Partnership is a combined private and public sector effort that has been working to attract and retain jobs in San Joaquin County for the past several decades. A number of jobs the Partnership secured are connected to NUMMI plant suppliers.

The general auto sales slowdown has not only cost retail auto dealership jobs but also 50 Chrysler Daimler distribution center jobs when the manufacturer closed its Lathrop distribution center.

The NUMMI plant opened as a joint venture in 1984 between General Motors and Toyota. GM dropped out of the partnership after it filed bankruptcy earlier this year. The NUMMI plant currently builds the Tacoma pickup and Corolla for Toyota. The last GM product produced in Fremont was the Pontiac Vibe.

The partnership is working with Manteca to locate employers within the city at various “cube” industrial parks where there is available space for companies to set up businesses in a fairly quick fashion. Most of those seeking locations are trying to position themselves for the economic upturn of which the Bay Area-Northern San Joaquin Valley are expected by some economists to start pulling out of the economic nose dive sooner than many other parts of the country.
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