The automobile industry has been a consistent bright spot in the American economy over the last several months, as automakers have added jobs to meet growing demand. And news from the industry is only getting better, as new estimates expect automakers to sell 14.3 million cars in the United States in 2012 — 1.5 million more than they sold last year.
Factories for both foreign and domestic automakers are now working “at maximum capacity” and the industry is adding shifts and jobs to keep up with that rising demand, the USA Today reports:
Some plants are adding third work shifts. Others are piling on worker overtime and six-day weeks. And Ford Motor and Chrysler Group are cutting out or reducing the annual two-week July shutdown at several plants this summer to add thousands of vehicles to their output.
“We have many plants working at maximum capacity now,” says Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans. “We’re building as many (cars) as we can.”
Chrysler and General Motors, the major beneficiaries of the auto rescue, have both reported their best profits in more than a decade, and both were already planning to add jobs this year. With factories now struggling to meet demand, both foreign and domestic auto companies are planning to add even more jobs — and, as the Center for American Progress’ Adam Hersh and Jane Farrell noted in April, the industry has added more than 139,000 jobs in the last three years.
The strength of the auto industry is yet another sign that letting it fail would have been a major mistake. Not only would it have cost more than a million jobs at a time when the economy was struggling, it would have prevented the current growth that is helping both the industry and the American economy recover.