We are beginning to see some positive staffing trends in the automobile industry. In the U.S., 16 plants have recently added a third shift. Sales have risen 10% or more annually for the past two years. This is an upswing not seen since 1984.
This is good news for more than just the automobile industry because it generates many spinoff jobs in other industries. Third-shift workers demand broader hours of access for consumer services such as healthcare, restaurants, groceries, daycare, and gyms. Jeff Green, reporting in Bloomberg Businessweek (2/13/122/19/12, p. 22), describes research firm IHS Automotives findings:
For the first time since the car industrys collapse in 2009, many plants are running 24 hours a day. At the nadir, some plants ran only one eight-hour shift. U.S. auto plants this year may operate at about 81 percent capacity after falling as low as 49 percent in 2009.
Green explains how adding a third shift typically involves about 1,000 new workers to fill that shift. The corresponding spinoff jobs are estimated to be nearly 8,000.
Obviously, many factors and variables (business, consumer, technological, demographics, public policy, and political) affect the economy. Therefore, Im not willing to say at all that our economy is clearly on the healing side. Things may get worse before they get better. Nevertheless, I will happily receive this bit of good news. It certainly cant hurt!
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