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As quietly as one of its electric cars, Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) has become the biggest auto-industry employer in California.

Tesla now employs more than 6,000 people in the state, the automaker said, offering the first public snapshot of its workforce this year. That moves the fast-growing company well ahead of Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world’s biggest automaker, which has 5,300 direct employees in California -- a count set to fall after the Japan-based company said it will move a majority of those jobs to Texas by 2017.

Tesla will add at least 500 more workers by year’s end in California, Simon Sproule, a spokesman, said in an interview.

Led by billionaire Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, Tesla is the rare company doubling down on making products in California, which has relatively high labor and energy costs and stiff environmental guidelines for laying down new plants. Texas and other states, meanwhile, are luring manufacturers with vows of lower taxes and less red tape.

“Tesla’s scaling up here in California is terrific news,” said Gino DiCaro, spokesman for the California Manufacturers & Technology Association. “It’s also an exception -- and we certainly need more of them.”

Tesla is already a bigger local employer than many high-growth California-based technology companies. At the end of 2013, according to an annual filing, Tesla had 5,800 employees worldwide -- with about 90 percent of those in California, Sproule said. Twitter Inc. (TWTR), according to recent filings, has 3,000 employees worldwide and Facebook Inc. (FB) has about 7,000.

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Sources : Tesla Now California's Top Automotive Employer Photo | Tesla Now California's Top Automotive Employer Article


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