Auto Industry Jobs Growth Mostly White Collar

Proud auto industry jobs holder
Most auto industry growth won't be on the shop floor

News about U.S. auto industry jobs growth have led to spats about whether or not President-elect Trump can take credit. Most recently, General Motors announced plans to “add or keep” 7,000 jobs, but hastened to add that the plans had been in the works for years.

But a closer look at GM’s plans shows no good news for anyone hoping to roll back the auto industry job clock. GM’s $1 billion investment in factories will enable it to “create or keep” 2,000 factory jobs, according to the Associated Press. But, the AP reports, “Another 5,000 new positions will be created at its auto financing arm and to develop advanced technology, electric and autonomous vehicles and information technology.”

Specifically, GM plans to move 450 pickup truck axle-making jobs from Mexico, plus 100 jobs making parts for next-gen pickups. That leaves 1,500 jobs that are vaguely described as “create or keep” at “unspecified factories.”

It doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to assume that GM is really talking about a net gain of about 550 manufacturing jobs.

The real growth–about 5,500 jobs–will be white-collar. Those auto industry jobs will be in finance, information technology, research and development, and engineering.

Those 1,500 jobs in the “keep” column shouldn’t be underrated. They’re jobs that would be hard to replace, and likely in areas that need every job they can get.

But they aren’t the answer to frustrated unskilled workers who have been relying on politicians to “bring the jobs back.”

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