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Jobs report shows growth in auto sector employment

General Motors

The U.S. added 7,000 auto manufacturing jobs in January.

More job growth in the sector is likely on the way.

"These are great numbers. And we expect to see further employment increases throughout the year," says Sean McAlinden, an economist with the Center for Automotive Research. "And it's not just in traditional light car and truck manufacturing, but also in the RV and trailer sector. And this reflects obviously a faster-growing economy, and cheaper fuel."

McAlinden says the healthy state of the industry could help the UAW negotiate a strong contract with GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler this summer.

How long can it last? 

"Six years in a row of sales increases is tying past records," says McAlinden. "We've never had seven years in a row.  So, the warning is, we don't expect this employment to increase forever. It is a cyclical industry. So maybe we should enjoy the good times."

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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