Auto Employment Reaches Five Year High

Auto employmentThe U.S. auto sector added 3,400 jobs in January — and now employs more people than it did in September 2008 — as rising sales have boosted employment across the industry.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday employment at automakers and parts companies rose to 846,400 last month — up nearly 47,000 jobs over the last year.

Auto dealers added 42,000 jobs over the last year to 1.16 million.

Wages have remained relatively flat in the sector.

The average hourly wage in the auto sector for production and non-supervisory workers rose $0.29 an hour over the last year to $21.21. The average hourly wages at automakers for the same group was $28.06, compared with $20.01 for parts employees.

Michigan added 700 net auto-manufacturing jobs in 2013 to 43,300 — and the parts sector added 4,600 to 110,300 — the best gains of any states in the parts sector. Michigan has nearly twice as many auto parts manufacturing jobs than the second highest state — Indiana, with 56,600.

The industry is still down sharply from the beginning of the great auto restructuring. The auto sector employed 1.1 million people as recently as 2006 — and it is still down about 250,000 jobs since then.

Since President Barack Obama took office, the auto sector has added about 90,000 net jobs — and about 220,000 jobs since the auto industry’s low employment level of 624,000 jobs in June 2009, when GM and Chrysler were in bankruptcy.

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