The American automotive industry has been dominating the global scene since Ford invented the automated assembly line and is an integral pillar of the nation’s economy. With millions of cars rolling off assembly lines annually, this industry plays a pivotal role in the livelihood of millions of Americans. In 2020, the industry's production numbers witnessed a slight dip due to the pandemic with 13.72 million vehicles manufactured, as reported by the Department of Energy. In the preceding five years, production had consistently surpassed the 16-17 million mark annually.
What's particularly striking is the diversity of vehicles built on American soil. The spectrum ranges from the ever-popular SUVs, constituting the largest share at 7.1 million vehicles (52% of the total), to traditional cars at 4.25 million (31%). Pickup trucks, a quintessential American icon, made it to 1.98 million (14%), while vans added 400,000 to the mix (3%).
The American automotive industry isn't just about production numbers; it's also about jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 4,364,800 people found employment in the auto industry in 2022. This sector stretches its arms across various domains, including vehicle and parts manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade encompassing car dealerships and accessory stores, and repair and maintenance services. Overall, the auto industry provides livelihoods to approximately 1.3% of the entire US population and contributes to 1.7% of the US workforce. These figures highlight the industry's vast impact, not only in terms of the sheer numbers employed but also in the ripple effect it creates throughout the broader economy.
The recent trends show positive growth in employment across the industry. From June 2022 to June 2023, all categories witnessed a surge in employment. The only exception was in the specific niche of manufacturing motor vehicle bodies and trailers, where numbers remained static.