New CAT Jobs Create Ripple Effect in Regional Economy

By Audrey Williams

November 28, 2011 Updated Nov 28, 2011 at 9:13 PM CDT

With the addition of hundreds of new Caterpillar jobs in the coming years, the Economic Development Council of Central Illinois expects to see a major impact on the regional economy.

Recently CAT announced over $600 million in expansions at the Decatur and East Peoria plants.

Caterpillar Spokesman Jim Dugan says the expansion comes in the wake of high demand in the mining sector, "We're making the investments, for instance, to make more tractors in East Peoria because we believe over the long run there will be more demand, more customers will want those tractors."

Dugan says by 2016 the new equipment should be online and CAT will be able to add about 300 jobs between the two facilities.

The EDC projects those 300 jobs will bring over $230 million to the local economy.

When those 300 CAT employees are hired they will spend some of their paycheck in the local economy, buying gas, groceries, and going out to eat.  Adding to the indirect and induced effect of their hires.

"It's jobs, expenditures, jobs, expenditures, jobs, expenditures," says EDC President Vicki Clark

The EDC estimates the indirect effect of those 300 jobs will be the addition of another 126 new jobs.

And, when those employees spend in the economy, it is estimated about 98 more jobs will be created.

All in all, we're talking 524 news jobs.

The local UAW President Dave Chapman says the job growth proves CAT has made it's way back from the recession, "When they was laying off in '09, we're back above there, even maybe a little bit higher."

"Since the beginning of 2010 our workforce has increased by about 30,000 people. So we, definitely, right now are in a mode of growth and hiring," adds Dugan.

So for those in college, do the math, the engineering field is looking good come 2016

"Caterpillar is a company that utilizes, and hires, and employs a large number, thousands of engineers that we have. I would say if you were a freshman in college and you had the skills, the inclination, the math and science skills it's certainly a career that might be worth considering," says Dugan.