Earlier this month, Tesla confirmed that it is now employing over 850 full-time workers at the plant alone while over 1,000 construction workers are continuing their work on the plant. Panasonic, Tesla’s partner for battery cell production at the plant, is also employing hundreds of people at this point. Both companies are increasing their hiring efforts and Tesla plans to hire 1,000 more workers at the plant in the next few months – more than doubling the factory’s workforce. The automaker also recently started hiring production engineers to build up new highly automated drivetrain production lines at the Gigafactory.
Based on the rapid hiring it looks like the Gigafactory is starting (or will start very soon) to produce cells. At the factory tour several months ago I was told that their internal goal was to start seeing cells come off the production line by the end of December this year, and then ramping into next year. Seeing evidence now of Tesla hiring over 850 full-time employees (and 1000+ more in coming months) is the best sign so far that the Model 3 production timeline is on target.