At a Center for Automotive Research (CAR) breakfast briefing held yesterday at Schoolcraft Community College in Livonia, auto analysts talked about recent UAW labor contracts as well as projected automotive manufacturing employment numbers.
According to a presentation given by CAR and data from IHS Global Insights, more jobs are going to be needed. From this year to the next, automotive employment is expected to increase from 590,000 to 650,000, and by the year 2015, automotive employment is expected to reach 756,800.
What about those who need jobs in Michigan? Well, if car buyers still haven’t found work to purchase their next MI used cars, there is hope. This year’s auto employment numbers are up 24 percent, and since as many as 150,000 jobs are likely over the next four years, a good portion of that number will end up at home in Michigan.
Other interesting data from the briefing includes the history of declining Detroit Three automotive jobs over the course of 32 years. In 1978, Detroit Three auto employment numbered near 1 million. At the end of 2010, that number was below 200,000 workers.
Developments in technology played some part in the reduction of workers, but the crumbling auto industry of late 2007 also had a hand in eliminating thousands of jobs for autoworkers. Detroit automakers are making progress since the automotive recession, as they have scaled back production, and these efforts appear to be working.
A look at the past four years of lightweight vehicle sales indicates two of the Detroit Three have been more profitable at lower sales volumes. U.S. lightweight vehicles sales are down 25 percent from 2006, yet both General Motors and Ford are finding themselves in the black for the first nine months of 2011. In 2006, both Ford and GM were in the red for corporate net income with $12.6 billion and $2 billion, respectively.
Fast-forward to four years later and these leaner companies have turned a corporate net income of $6.6 billion for Ford and $7.1 billion for GM. Chrysler was $3 billion in the red in 2006, and has yet to clear its first billion for the first nine months of 2011 in regards to net income, but the company’s is making progress since its 2009 bankruptcy with a third quarter net income of $212 million.
All of these signals hint at hope for the future, but automakers must continue to make smart moves, operate sustainably and create better jobs and cars for Americans in order to keep this hope alive until then.