December 4, 2018 / 3:40 PM / 9 months ago

Mercedes Benz to hire 600 contractors in Brazil as economy recovers

The Mercedes-Benz logo is seen before the company's annual news conference in Stuttgart, Germany, February 4, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Mercedes Benz’s (DAIGn.DE) Brazil operation will hire some 600 contractors in 2019 on year-long contracts to work on commercial vehicles, adding to a workforce of 10,000, the company said on Tuesday.

Brazil’s economy is slowly emerging from its worst recession in a century, with unemployment above 11 percent. The recovery mimics growth in the Brazilian auto industry, which has recovered in the past two years but lags behind its peak in 2012.

Phillipp Schiemer, Mercedes’ chief executive for Brazil and Latin America, told journalists that about 12,000 people had already applied for 400 open positions. He said he was optimistic about the economy and about Mercedes, which has seen 30 percent growth in its truck business so far this year.

“It had been a long time since we were this optimistic,” Schiemer told journalists at an event in the company’s headquarters in Sao Bernardo do Campo. “If we get pension reform and tax reform through, I believe that we have a good chance that (economic recovery) will happen even faster.”

Schiemer also discussed commercial electric vehicles in Brazil, but said he did not expect to see them in the country any time soon. He said the company had already signed contracts to sell self-autonomous vehicles to be used in agribusiness.

The executive declined to discuss electric private vehicles, such as Sedans or SUVs.

Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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