ford-plug-in-motor.jpgFord Motor Co. said Tuesday it earned $2.1 billion in the first quarter, another sign that the economy is improving as people spend more on big-ticket items like cars.

That’s an about-face from the same period last year when it lost $1.4 billion at the height of the recession. It was Ford’s highest quarterly profit in six years.

The increase could mean additional hiring, but Ford said it was too early to tell.

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