Automotive suppliers employ more workers than any other manufacturing group in the United States.
Findings of a study released today by the Center for Automotive Research show automotive suppliers employ 783,100 U.S. workers and contribute to 4.5 million jobs nationwide. Nearly 2 million of those indirect jobs are in support industries, ranging from steel and plastics to technical services.
Automotive suppliers provide more jobs than any other sector in seven states - Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee - and account for more than 15,000 jobs in each of nine additional states.
Suppliers' total employment contribution equates to $253 billion in compensation or an average of $45,790 per worker annually.
Dave Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, said the study is the first ever undertaken to show the true economic impact of automotive suppliers. The center, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., conducted the research on behalf of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, which represents suppliers to manufacturers of light- and heavy-duty vehicles and aftermarket parts.
"The study's findings make it clear that despite the many challenges facing our industry, automotive suppliers account for more jobs and provide more economic well-being to more Americans than any other manufacturing sector," Bob McKenna, president of the association, said in a statement.
Manufacturers that only a decade ago designed and built components in-house are now looking to independent, stand-alone operations for the thousands of parts that go into the cars, trucks and buses they produce, the study concludes. Suppliers now provide about two-thirds of the value of vehicles on the road today, according to some estimates.
During the same time, suppliers have taken on a larger share of the industry's r&d costs. In 2000, suppliers spent $6.6 billion on r&d. By 2003, that investment had increased to $6.8 billion and now accounts for 40 percent of total automotive r&d investment, according to the Center for Automotive Research study.
Suppliers expect to use the study results to gain more clout in state legislatures and in Congress.
"In Tennessee, the largest section of the manufacturing sector is the automotive OEM's and the local suppliers," Richard Horn, president of the Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association, said in an e-mail to Automotive News.
"In order to sustain the growth in the Tennessee automotive manufacturing sector, it will be even more important for our legislators to write laws that help create a positive business environment."
The study is available at automotivesupplier.org and cargroup.org.
You may e-mail April Wortham at [email protected]