Moody's Investors Service said this week that Chrysler's improved performance and production at its Belvidere plant in the Rockford, Ill., metropolitan region is a credit positive for the area.

The automobile company announced earlier this month that its North American production was up by 23%, including production of the new Dodge Dart sedan at the Belvidere plant.

"The accompanying increase in employment and tax revenues is a credit positive for the Rockford area, which is still recovering from deep auto-sector cuts that occurred over the economic downturn," according to Moody's analysts.

The company earlier this year announced a $700 million investment in a 638,000-square-foot body shop at the Belvidere plant.

It is expected to add 1,500 to 4,500 jobs.

The additions will make Chrysler the largest private-sector employer in Winnebago County.

The automotive industry dominates the Rockford area's manufacturing sector.

Rockford is rated Aa3 and Winnebago County is rated Aa2.

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