In 2011, the auto sector posted its biggest annual employment increase of any year since 1994. Further good news came with February’s jobs report on the state of our nation’s motor vehicle and parts manufacturing and sales. In February, 10,000 additional jobs were created in the auto sector, following 5 months of double digit job growth in the industry.
And just this week, a number of carmakers announced that their American sales rose last month to the highest level in at least four years. Chrysler sold 34% more cars in March 2012 than in March 2011, General Motors posted a 12% increase, and Ford noted that sales were up 5%.
When the President took office the U.S. auto industry was on the verge of collapse. From February 2000 to June 2009, the motor vehicle and parts sector alone lost over 700,000 and vehicle and parts sales another 204,000 jobs. Private capital was fleeing to the sidelines. Some said we should “let Detroit go bankrupt.” With over 1 million jobs at stake, the President refused to let that happen.
The industry has seen a complete turnaround since June 2009. Since then, the industry has added 217,000 jobs. This is both because of increased hiring in the manufacturing of vehicle and parts but also due to increased hiring in automobile dealers.
The recent job growth in automobile-related industries has been driven by strong growth in both automobile production and sales. Both sales and production have rebounded sharply since their lows in 2009 and are currently back near their pre-recession levels.
Standing by a tough but fair restructuring, the President made a bold choice. He stood with the auto workers and the communities whose economies depend on the industry. That bet is paying off. The American auto industry is back.
Today, GM is back on top as the number one automaker in the world, with the highest profits in its 100-year history. Chrysler is growing faster in America than any other car company. Ford is investing billions in American plants and factories, and plans to bring thousands of jobs back home.
The positive jobs data when combined with the rebound in automobile business activity confirms that after being hard hit during the recession our nations’ auto industry is on the path to recovery.