Toyota Resumes Hiring at Stalled Mississippi Plant

Toyota Motor (TM) is once again hiring workers at its new plant in Mississippi as it seeks to resume U.S. production of its Corolla compact car. The automaker is looking to fill production, maintenance and white collar positions at the plant, the automaker said Monday in a statement.

The company committed to creating 2,000 jobs when the plant was first announced three years ago, but those plans were put on hold in 2008 as a weakening U.S. economy reduced demand for cars and trucks. The plant had been scheduled to open this year.

Toyota began hiring to fill about 40 salaried jobs at the plant a few weeks ago, said Sally Stackhouse Williams of the Mississippi Development Authority. Toyota expects to bring the total workforce to 2,000, she said in an emailed message.

In June, the company said it was resuming construction of the plant, situated about 200 miles northeast of Jackson, the state capital. At the time, Toyota said about 60 people were employed at the mostly completed factory, which is expected to churn out about 100,000 Corolla sedans a year.

After production begins in the fall of 2011, nearly all Corollas destined for the U.S. market will be built in North America, Toyota said. The model is also produced in Cambridge, Ontario.

Some production of U.S.-destined Corollas shifted to Japan in April, following the closure of the New United Motor Manufacturing plant in Fremont, Calif., which Toyota operated jointly with General Motors. GM, however, pulled out of the joint venture after filing for bankruptcy last year.

Toyota is coordinating hiring for hourly production and skilled maintenance positions through the Mississippi Department of Employment Security and the Workforce Investment Network job centers, it said. Applications are being accepted online.