DETROIT (WWJ) – The U.S. auto industry was at least partially behind the nation’s strong June jobs report.
Car companies and their suppliers added 5,100 new jobs in June. That’s on top of 6,100 jobs added at dealerships.
The pace of hiring is expected to pick up as we enter the second half of the year, and car companies add more new shifts at auto plants. This comes as sales rose about seven percent in the first half of the year.
The Center for Auto Research has estimated the auto industry will hire 35,000 workers this year, but the increased sales pace could cause auto companies and their suppliers to add even more jobs.
Engineers have been in particular demand. General Motors has also been hiring a lot of information technology workers, as it brings much of its I.T. work back in-house.
Manufacturing jobs are also being added at a brisk pace, as companies add more shifts to existing factories. The new hires are paid about half of what current auto workers get. The next set of contract talks–in 2015–is expected to focus on ways to give “second tier” workers a route to “first tier” pay packages.
It’s hard to tell how long the hiring spree will continue in the auto industry. Analysts expect sales to keep rising through the next few years. While car companies are looking for all possible ways to squeeze as much production as possible out of plants, there’s little interest yet in committing to new factories that can cost several billion dollars.