Can a town with a green economy boom last longer?

When the factory reduced production in the 2000s and closed in 2015, Normal felt a pinch around the time of white-collar workforce reductions. The supplier left the camp and many workers left in search of new jobs. Uptown, an elegant, brick-accented district with a theater restored in the 1930s and two suddenly oversized hotels, has become a monument to the city’s declining prosperity.

Local politicians and business leaders have adopted Michigan-based and other states, Canada, and the United Kingdom-based Rivian as a way to fill the void. But in places that have endured such changes in fate, residents may be allowed to wonder how long today’s good times will last.

Electric vehicles require fewer workers to manufacture than gasoline vehicles. And while Rivian’s outlook looks strong, Public offering In August, we asked for a valuation of about $ 70 billion. The company can be overwhelmed by the ever-growing list of competitors. At some point, spending is over and the local industry depends on whether Rivian can build a significant customer base.

The first bubble has already disappeared. After reaching more than 200 employees earlier this year, Weber Electric has dropped to about 100. “We rolled back a bit,” said owner Mosier, who wants to add more workers as the factory green. -Illuminate more construction.

Thus, the electric vehicle boom is like a microcosm for a larger transition to a low-carbon economy. There is definitely a first shock as governments and investors spend hundreds of billions of dollars on the green industry. But will that continue?

Not everyone at Normal is connected to the company’s only production facility, the Rivian plant. Sometimes I feel that way. One afternoon in June, Katie Tilly, who sits in the factory lobby and oversees workplace operations such as site design and food, said her younger brother, who had just left the Marine Corps, started the company next week.

“My brother works in the battery department!” Laura Ewan, an employee of her colleague Community Relations, said, “We were so different that our parents expected us to work in the same place. I wouldn’t have done it. “

Can a town with a green economy boom last longer?

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