There sure has been a lot of bad economic news lately, with unemployment at 7.9% and take home pay at a 4-year low. That makes having some good local economic news that much sweeter. An $11 million, 50,000-square foot expansion at Procter & Gamble's Tambrands plant in Auburn is well underway.

The expansion of the plant on the Hotel Road in Auburn is on schedule for completion in February and will allow the company to add three production lines. The Auburn plant currently produces almost 9 million tampons per day. Procter & Gamble bought the Auburn plant in 1997 and has invested more than $350 million in the 530,000-square foot facility. The expansion will allow the plant to increase it's potential output of Pearl brand products by as much as 30 percent. The expansion project broke ground in July and should be completed by February with the new lines up and running by May.

Employment at the plant will stay flat as several older production lines are decommissioned to make room for the new Pearl lines, which now account for two-thirds of the plant's output. The Auburn plant is the city's largest property taxpayer with $1.4 million in 2011 and the city's second largest employer behind Walmart, with about 450 on it's payroll. The city of Auburn economic development director, Roland Miller says "the expansion is just continuing evidence that the Maine worker is still one of the most productive in the nation."