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ElectroLux: Manufacturer Sees the U.S. as a Great Place for R&D and Production


Electrolux is a Swedish-based manufacturer that offers appliances under its own brand name, as well as Kelvinator, Eureka, and Fridgidaire. Its global workforce is an impressive 58,000 people. While the U.S. is not the fastest-growing market for appliances – that distinction goes to developing countries that are on a fast growth curve – Electrolux nonetheless sees the U.S. as one of its key markets for R&D and production.

As of 2014, the company employed 1,500 associates in North Carolina, about half of them at its North American headquarters facility in Charlotte. The others work at a dishwasher-manufacturing plant in Kinston and a distribution center near Asheville. That corporate footprint is about to expand in a positive way.

The company plans to build a new 675,000 square foot facility that will accommodate R&D, marketing, and other corporate functions. R&D activities will occupy two floors in the planned six-story building. Electrolux has committed to creating more than 800 jobs by 2017, with an average compensation of $100,000 plus benefits. That constitutes a doubling of its corporate presence, and a great example of the types of careers available to candidates with the right skills in modern manufacturing. The company will also invest $85 million in plant and equipment.

In achieving those targets, Electrolux’s investments and job creation will trigger $27 million in performance-based Job-Development Investment Grants, paid to the company  over a period of 12 years. The grants will be funded from a portion of the state income tax generated by the new positions.

Electrolux is also expanding in Memphis, Tennessee, where it currently employs 550 workers. That will rise to 1,200 employees by 2019, as the factory, which produced its first kitchen ovens in October 2013, kicks into full gear. The plant is designed to produce as many as 600,000 kitchen ranges and ovens in a single year. It features advanced robotics and lasers that make for some of the most efficient appliance manufacturing in the world.

Coincidentally, on the same December 2013 day that the North Carolina expansion was announced, the unemployment rate in North Carolina reached a five-year low. As this story shows, manufacturing and R&D continue to be the source of excellent jobs.