Ohio auto industry adding thousands of jobs

Ohio’s auto industry is rebounding from a long slide, having added thousands of jobs as pent-up demand for new and more fuel-efficient vehicles has pumped up production, according to environmental advocacy group and the federal government.

Ohio, Indiana and Michigan — three key auto industry states — lost an estimated 275,000 auto manufacturing jobs through much of the previous decade. Yet since June 2009, Ohio has added 11,300 new auto industry jobs, while Michigan has added 35,200 and Indiana has added 19,800, said DrivingGrowth.org, citing information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ohio actually has added 12,000 auto manufacturing jobs during the past three years, bureau economist Thomas McDonald said Thursday.

The American auto industry as a whole has grown by 236,000 jobs in that same period, DrivingGrowth.org said.

“Global automakers are now sourcing their most advanced, high-tech manufacturing here in the United States, creating a more sustainable and secure future for the U.S. industry and U.S. workers,” said Tiffany Ingram, Midwest advocacy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement from the DrivingGrowth.org website.

DrivingGrowth.org attributes the job growth in part to the need for sleeker, more fuel-efficient automobiles.

Since August 2009, the national average per-gallon price of regular-grade gasoline has risen roughly $1 to $3.69. Current government fuel economy standards call for 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. Rules raising the standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 are expected to be completed this month.

Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence for auto industry trends tracker TrueCar.com, attributed the rise in jobs to” the overall recovery in the industry.”

“Consumer demand in the last three years was really the main force,” Toprak said.

Automakers are on pace to sell 14.5 million cars in the U.S. this year, compared with 12.8 million last year, according to J.D. Power and Associates and LMC Automotive.

Among the automakers who have added jobs in Ohio are Honda, which now employs more than 13,400 statewide and will debut its redesigned Accord sedan on Monday in Marysville.

Chrysler Group LLC plans to add hundreds more next year at its plants in Toledo. Just this week, the company started accepting applications to fill 1,100 additional jobs next year and needed less than 36 hours this week to reach its quota of applications, the (Toledo) Blade reported.

Fuel prices don’t impact the total number of cars sold, but those prices do affect the kinds of cars sold, Toprak said.

While the auto manufacturing industry in the Dayton area is no where near what it used to be following the departure of General Motors and Delphi Automotive, the area remains home to several large auto parts production plants. They include a Tenneco suspension parts plant in Kettering and a Behr Thermal Products plant in Dayton. Dozens of smaller shops also continue to supply automakers with pieces and parts.

In Other News