20,000 People Want 877 Jobs At Hyundai's Alabama Factory

Have you ever wanted to work in a automobile factory? A lot of people do, apparently, and as car manufacturers ramp up production to meeting a steadily improving economy, the number of people vying for limited job slots is a telltale sign that we aren't out of the woods yet.

Hyundai Motor Co. has been building cars at its Montgomery, Ala. plant since 2005. Monday, the company announced that it will add 877 new positions, creating a third shift to help produce more Sonatas and Elantras, bringing the factory's workforce up to about 3,000 people.

The South Korean carmaker sold more than 55,000 Sonatas and 44,000 Elantras during this year's first quarter, increases of 6 and 8 percent respectively. The company's overall first quarter sales are up 15 percent. As a result, its Montgomery factory hadn't been able to keep up with dealership orders, generating complaints from the sales side of the business.

But with unemployment still at 8.1 percent nationally — 7.2 percent in Alabama — people are flocking to get those jobs. More than 20,000 applied for the 877 jobs that just opened up, a trend seen industry wide as auto manufacturers recover from the economic meltdown of just a few years ago.

For example, last year 18,000 people applied for 1,800 jobs in Ford's Louisville, Ky. plant, which is scheduled to begin building the Edge SUV this summer. Toyota built a new factory in Tupelo, Miss. last year, and more than 41,000 people applied for 1,300 positions. When Volkswagen opened its new plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. in 2009, 65,000 people clamored for 2,700 jobs.

With odds like that — and benefit bearing jobs in an industry that's projected to grow over the next few years — it's little wonder those factories aren't staffed with PhDs and superheros. (Hat tip to Jeffrey!)

Photo credit: Associated Press