In tough economy, Toyota plant brings Miss. jobs

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BLUE SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) -- As a young father, Cassius Perry would try almost anything to support his family. He trained as a barber, but ended up working for an airplane salvage company.

Then Toyota built a manufacturing plant in northeast Mississippi. Perry landed a job with Diversity-Vuteq LLC, a Toyota supplier.

Perry says that changed his "whole life around."

Toyota is preparing to build its first car for commercial sale. Toyota hasn't released a date for the official start of production, but test cars are being built now.

That's good news in a state where unemployment has hovered above 10 percent.

Toyota spokeswoman Emily Wilemon-Holland says about 1,250 Toyota employees are working at the Blue Springs plant. Toyota plans to start about 280 more this year. Dozens of others, like Perry, work for suppliers.