A two-year suspension of highway truck assembly at Kenworth's Renton plant is ending as the company begins recalling some workers laid off when the company halted on-road truck assembly there.
Kenworth, a division of Bellevue’s Paccar Inc., shut down production of highway trucks two years ago and concentrated assembly of those trucks at its Ohio plant.
Now, as demand is rising for new vehicles, the Ohio plant is at capacity, and Kenworth is ramping up production in Renton. Kenworth had continued to build off-road trucks at the Renton plant during the downturn.
The gradual return of some workers is a positive sign for Renton’s economy. The plant pays union wages .
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The recession cut highway transport demand, and trucking companies quit ordering new trucks, industry analysts say. Large highway truck production is up 18 percent this year as the economy begins stirring to life again.