Georgetown Toyota hiring temps again

Toyota's plant in Georgetown is once again hiring temporary workers, part of what one temporary staffing agency in the area says might be a slight uptick in the employment market.

Toyota had cut the temporary workers on its assembly lines in previous months, as the economy took a major toll on the automotive industry and left many plants, including Georgetown's, idled at times.

The Georgetown plant builds Camrys, Camry Hybrids, Avalons and the new Venza crossovers.

The automaker is thinking it might be seeing a slight uptick in Camry sales, said spokesman Rick Hesterberg. "And Venza has been holding its own."

Hesterberg said the company might have a little bit more reason for optimism, too, because of the federal cash-for-clunkers legislation that offers tax credits to people who buy new cars and junk old ones.

"We're really not sure at this point how many we will be bringing in," Hesterberg said of the temporary workers. "We're just trying to be pro-active and get that pool built back up."

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Toyota has long used temporary workers at the plant, just as other automakers do, saying it allows the company to insulate its full-time workforce from swings in demand for cars. The workers make less than regular full-time workers do, but the pay is above the average manufacturing wage in the state.

Hesterberg said the hiring is not related to filling regular full-time jobs that were vacated in June because of workers who took Toyota's early retirement offer made earlier this year. Throughout North America, about 1,200 of 18,000 eligible workers took the offer. The company is not releasing plant-specific numbers.

The boost in temporary employment appears to be one of several occurring around the region, said Susan White, regional business development manager with Staffmark in Lexington and Louisville.

Offices around the region have said old clients have been calling with temporary needs because they're operating "so barebones," and in some cases, a few new small businesses are calling.

"It's very small, but it's there," White said.

Managers with Precision Staffing and Integrity Staffing could not be reached.

White added that once things pick up more, likely months into the future, temporary staffing agencies will probably boom because employers won't want to incur the cost of hiring new regular full-time employees.

"They're going to be more likely than ever to bring in a temporary workforce on the uptick," she said.