Midwest Memo: Wednesday, May 25, 2011

One day after Chrysler hailed its repayment of $7.5 billion in government loans, GM announced it will add 2,500 jobs in Detroit to meet growing demand for fuel-efficient cars. Shifts will be added at the company’s Hamtramck, Mich. plant as part of the automaker’s goal in meeting growing demand for sedans and electric cars, according to the Detroit News.

Both developments are signs of progress for the American auto industry, which has emerged as a building block for President Obama’s fledgling re-election campaign. In that spirit, the President will visit a Toledo-area Chrysler plant next week, possibly on Friday.

Changing Gears senior editor Micki Maynard, featured on PBS’ NewsHour on Tuesday night, said the repayment was a sign the government’s bet on Chrysler had paid off. Here’s a quick recap of the case for and against TARP, courtesy of U.S. News and World Report.

Elsewhere in the Midwest today:

A survey says tourists spent more than $17 billion in Michigan last year, according to our partner station Michigan Radio, an increase of 14 percent over 2009

Work begins today on a $153 million expansion of the Gary Chicago International Airport. The work will lengthen the airport’s main runway by 1,900 feet, allowing larger aircraft to land, according to WBEZ.org.

Ohio leaders are meeting to plot ways to lure a new class of educated professionals, reports Ideastream. The goal of the Global Cleveland Summit is to revive an immigration wave that started more than a century ago.

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