The auto industry supports more jobs than any other manufacturing industry in the United States and its recovery has been one of the brighter spots in the economy since the recent recession. Appearing today before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, Three Rivers employer and Tier 1 automotive parts supplier American Axle & Manufacturing spoke on a number of issues relating to the current state of U.S. automobile manufacturing and the industry's outlook. The subcommittee hearing is the third in a series examining the domestic manufacturing industry.
"The auto industry is central to manufacturing here in the United States," said Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph). "Auto manufacturing and its downstream impact employ more than 20 percent of Michiganders. In Southwest Michigan, close to one-third of manufacturing is auto related. Companies like American Axle and its workers have played a prominent role in Michigan's comeback, recently announcing they are investing more than $100 million in their Three Rivers plant and are adding 500 jobs. At this critical time it is important that we give the auto industry the support it needs."
William A. Smith, Executive Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations for American Axle, provided expert testimony at today's hearing that addressed issues including corporate tax reform, U.S. energy policy, and workforce training.
"Manufacturers are ready to power the economy," said Smith in his prepared testimony. "With the right policies in place, we will transform a difficult and sluggish recovery into an economic resurgence. After all, manufacturing has the highest multiplier effect of any other sector of our economy. Investments in manufacturing multiply across the economy, creating jobs and growth in other sectors. Simply put, manufacturing makes America strong."
American Axle is currently in the midst of a $100 million investment in new tooling and equipment at its Three Rivers facility, which is resulting in the launch of an industry-leading disconnecting all-wheel drive system. This new, high technology system will provide enhanced fuel economy and safety over existing driveline systems in the industry. The investment requires hiring an additional 500 workers at the plant, bringing American Axle's total U.S. employment to nearly 3,500.
Auto manufacturing is an important direct and indirect contributor to the U.S. economy, creating jobs, attracting foreign investment, increasing trade, and spurring innovation. The motor vehicle and parts manufacturing industry directly employed 789,000 people as of January 2013, but supports more jobs than any other manufacturing industry, with a multiplier effect that generates employment for 8 million Americans across all 50 States. In 47 States, the industry employs more than 10,000 workers, and more than 100,000 workers in 20 States. Michigan holds the largest number of auto-related jobs, supporting more than 1.18 million workers.