A total of 80 new jobs will be created in Monroe City and Palmyra thanks to a planned expansion by a local die-casting manufacturer.

A total of 80 new jobs will be created in Monroe City and Palmyra thanks to a planned expansion by a local die-casting manufacturer. Continental Casting’s intentions of making a $2.6 million capital investment at its facilities in those communities was announced Tuesday afternoon in Monroe City.

Continental Casting, which produces die cast solutions for the automotive, communications and electronics industries as well as consumer products, will be expanding its local facilities over the next two years. It is expected that 43 new jobs will be created at the Monroe City plant and 37 positions at the company’s plant in Palmyra.

“It is very good news,” said Monroe City Mayor Neal Minor. “Die casting is the industry that helped build Monroe City in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The expansion of this operation is putting us on the right track to regain the economy we used to have here.

“This is the third expansion we’ve had here in the past year. I hope it’s the tip of the iceberg and there is more to come in the near future.”

“It’s very good news. With the way the economy is any time jobs can be offered in the Palmyra and Monroe City area it’s a plus,” said Palmyra Mayor Loren Graham. “I think this is only the beginning of what the enterprise zone can do to attract expansion or new business to this area.”

The planned expansion is being driven by an increased demand for Continental Casting’s services from a number of new contracts.

To assist Continental Casting in moving forward with its expansion plans, the company could be eligible for a strategic economic incentive package from the state of Missouri if it meets the strict job creation and investment criteria of each program.

Tuesday’s announcement was not Continental Casting’s first positive news this year. In April, the company announced it was breaking ground on a new warehouse. The company revealed at the time it “had been awarded over 30 new jobs and added over 125 employees.”

The family-owned company, which produces aluminum, magnesium and zinc die casting, began aluminum die casting in 1998. However, it traces its roots back to 1974 when it started out as a tool and die shop. It currently employs about 215 workers at its manufacturing plants in Monroe City and Palmyra.

Joining company and community leaders for the announcement was Gov. Jay Nixon.

“Homegrown, Missouri companies like Continental Casting are creating jobs and growing our economy,” said Nixon in a press release.

CNN-Money recently rated Missouri as the nation’s sixth-best state for new business start-ups in its “10 Most Entrepreneurial States for 2011,” with Missouri being the only Midwestern state in the Top 10. In addition, Missouri’s state exports were up 6 percent during the first two quarters of 2012 compared to 2011, a year when the state of Missouri set a record with $14.1 billion in export sales revenue.

Tuesday’s announcement was particularly welcome in Monroe City, which lost a number of die-casting jobs when Pace Industries closed its doors in February 2010. At one time 186 people were employed locally by the Arkansas-based company, which produced aluminum die-cast products for a variety of industries. Pace blamed the closure on the national economic downturn.